Front Page Titles (by Subject) Watergate as a Symptom of Empire - Literature of Liberty, January/March 1978, vol. 1, No. 1
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Watergate as a Symptom of Empire - Leonard P. Liggio, Literature of Liberty, January/March 1978, vol. 1, No. 1 
Literature of Liberty: A Review of Contemporary Liberal Thought was published first by the Cato Institute (1978-1979) and later by the Institute for Humane Studies (1980-1982) under the editorial direction of Leonard P. Liggio.
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Watergate as a Symptom of Empire
“The Road to Watergate and Beyond: The Growth and Abuse of Executive Authority Since 1940.” Law and Contemporary Problems, Duke University School of Law, 40 (1976): 58–86.
Presidential rascality and improprieties did not begin with Richard Nixon.
Watergate conjures up presidential illegalities such as break-ins, violations of privacy, cover-ups, and abuse of national security personnel (FBI, CIA, and Justice Department). In important ways, President Nixon's misuse of power followed similar abuses of the executive power that often invoked “internal security” and used the FBI for personal ends. Watergate was merely the culmination of a long series of abuses in presidential power since 1940 in both domestic subversion of civil liberties and in foreign affairs.
First let us consider domestic abuses. In the administrations of Roosevelt, Truman, Eisenhower, Kennedy, and Johnson we witness some presidents and their attorneys general manipulating the FBI for political espionage. All of these presidents accepted political information on friends and enemies, and all permitted the FBI to act outside the law. Presidents often exploited “national security” as a cover to justify many illegal acts, including breakins. During the Cold War, the FBI played on the fear of communism to try illegally to disrupt several leftist groups. Presidents and their attorneys general were either ignorant or preferred to acquiesce to such illegalities. They made no attempt to restrain J. Edgar Hoover's unsavory harassment of civil rights leader, Martin Luther King. President Johnson even used the FBI to spy on his political rivals in the Democratic and Republican parties.
Not until Watergate did the press and public seem outraged by the illegal acts permitted the FBI by modern presidents. Despite the current furor about the Watergate break-in, little concern seems to be expressed about the far more severe disruption of leftist political groups.
Next, on major foreign policy issues, the record shows that during the 30 years before Nixon, every administration deceived and manipulated Congress and the public. In the aftermath of World War II, modern presidents used covert warfare against many nations. Richard Nixon did not invent deceit and dishonesty. Inheriting these “dirty tricks” from his presidential predecessors, he did not fear violating the law. He expected, like them, that he would not get caught. Nixon's predecessors' policies in foreign affairs were serious affairs. Watergate, although a corruption of the political process, did not involve life and death issues.