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Menace to Democracy: The Forgotten Lessons of Watergate that Continue to Plague the Presidential Records Act

Shiflett, Jacob

Watergate symbolizes a major "turning point" in American history. This event allegedly shifted public sentiments from permitting a certain level of autonomy and secrecy in the executive branch to mandating that past presidents be held accountable to the people of the United States through public "ownership of and [timely] access to" their presidential records after they leave office. Some contend that these sentiments culminated in the Presidential Recordings and Materials Preservation Act of 1974 and the Presidential Records Act of 1978. The former "allowed the federal government to take possession of only presidential records produced by the Nixon administration... [and] stopped short of providing for state ownership of the items impounded." Whereas the latter "provides for [public ownership of and] eventual access to presidential documents, but only from Reagan on." Together, they supposedly guarantee a new era of open government in the United States.

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More About This Work

Academic Units
History
Thesis Advisors
Ngai, Mae
Degree
B.A., Columbia University
Published Here
May 6, 2011
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