Watergate is a term used to describe a scandalous time in United States history. It is named after the Watergate Office building in Washington, D.C., which housed the Democratic Party headquarters. In 1972, two reporters for The Washington Post uncovered the fact that five men hired by President Nixon's Republican re-election staff members had been caught breaking into the Democratic National Party headquarters. They also found that some of Nixon's advisors offered to pay these five robbers to keep their mouths shut regarding this ordeal. With much research and sleuthing, Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein, from The Washington Post, traced the entire scandal back to the White House.
Nixon continually denied any involvement in both the break-in, the cover-up, and many other illegal activities. In a crime completely separate from this incident, Vice President Spiro Agnew confessed to having filed improper tax returns. In 1973, Vice President Agnew resigned and Gerald Ford became Vice President.
After Nixon was forced by the Supreme Court to release White House tape recordings showing he plotted to obstruct the investigation of the Watergate break-in, he faced certain impeachment President Nixon resigned as President of the United States in August of 1974. Vice President Ford then became President of the United States. In September of 1974, he pardoned Richard Nixon for any federal crimes. This was certainly not a popular decision with many Americans, but Ford felt this would help put an end to the turmoil in Washington. Read the attached chronology for further detail.