Audio Visual Sources on Richard Nixon and Watergate
Rationale: Through the Internet, students can access primary sources such as video recordings and
artifacts that enhance their understanding of historical events. Learning to how to analyze primary and
secondary sources is an important skill to master.
Objective: Students will examine video clips and photographs related to the Nixon presidency and the
Watergate scandal. They will also read recent commentaries from news sources and historians
evaluating the Nixon presidency. This activity will give students practice in analyzing primary and
secondary sources, while increasing their understanding of the Watergate scandal and its effects.
Task: Students review the history of Watergate and then examine a group of primary source materials,
including several video clips and photographs. Afterwards, students read recent news articles
evaluating the Nixon presidency.
Time: one class period
1. Students read or review the coverage in their textbooks on the Watergate scandal. Additional
background may be necessary so have students read a more recent news article that gives a
historical perspective of the event.
2. Students examine several photos related to the episode. Have students focus on the photo or
video of Nixon’s final departure from the Whitehouse. Explain that the “V” sign made by Nixon
means “victory.” Discuss with the class the following:
a. Why does Nixon use this symbol on this occasion?
b. How would you describe Nixon’s facial expression?
c. What do these two expressions suggest about his true feelings on the occasion?
3. Students watch the films of Nixon’s resignation speech and farewell speech. Have them take
notes on the tone and words choice used in the two speeches. Discuss with the class the
a. How would you describe the tone of each speech?
b. Evaluate Nixon’s leadership in these two speeches. Does he demonstrate leadership
4. Students read two articles about Nixon’s presidential legacy. Students discuss whether it is right
that Watergate overshadows what Nixon did for the country?