The Presidency of Richard Nixon - 5 Ws of the 1972 Election

Updated: 3/29/2016
The Presidency of Richard Nixon - 5 Ws of the 1972 Election
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Nixon Presidency Lesson Plans

The Presidency of Richard Nixon and the Watergate Scandal

Lesson Plans by Richard Cleggett

Richard M. Nixon’s presidency is shrouded in both success and controversy. Having served in several political positions, Nixon was a ruthless politician who cared very much about his public image. Unfortunately, his public image would be deeply affected by the Watergate Scandal that served as his political demise. With the activities in this lesson plan, students will be able to go in depth into his presidency, his policies, and his resignation.


Presidency of Richard Nixon

Storyboard Description

1972 Election 5 Ws - Utilizing a spider graph storyboard, students will create a graphic organizer to show the 5 Ws of the election of 1972. Richard Nixon will come to sweep the election in dominating fashion. However, the election would not go without controversy, as news of the Watergate scandal begins to spread. By outlining the 5 Ws of the election and emergence of the Watergate scandal, students will be able to explain and analyze just what defined Nixon’s second run and victory while also examining and explaining the emergence of what will become the Watergate scandal. This will allow students to be able to understand just how Nixon achieved re-election, as well as how his re-election will be marred by the emerging scandal.

Storyboard Text

  • WHEN DID THIS HAPPEN?
  • WHO WAS INVOLVED?
  • WHAT WERE THE RESULTS?
  • The election itself took place on November 7th, 1972, with Nixon emerging victorious. However, 5 days prior, investigations began into the Watergate Hotel break-in (the DNC's headquarters), which would come to ruin Nixon.
  • The 1972 presidential race was held between Richard Nixon and Democratic candidate George McGovern. In addition, Nixon was supported by his Committee to Re-elect the President, headed by John Mitchell.
  • The results of the election turned out to be a sweeping victory for Nixon. He carried 49 states, winning 520 electoral votes to McGovern's 1 state (plus D.C.) and 17 electoral votes. Furthermore, Nixon won 60.7% of the popular vote to McGovern's 37.5%.
  • WHY DID NIXON WIN?
  • 1972 PRESIDENTIAL ELECTION
  • WHERE DID THIS HAPPEN?
  • Nixon won such a decisive victory for several reasons. For one, his foreign policy was much admired and considered successful in calming Cold War tensions. Also, Nixon pledged to end the Vietnam War.
  • The election took place throughout the United States. Nixon hailed from California and McGovern from South Dakota. Five days before the election, a break-in at the Watergate Hotel in Washington D.C. would prove to be a major scandal for Nixon in the coming years.