Vietnam, Watergate, and the War Power: Presidential Aggrandizement and Congressional Abdication

  • David Gray Adler
  • Michael A. Genovese
Part of the The Evolving American Presidency Series book series (EAP)


The crisis of Watergate was both spawned and worsened by America’s involvement in the war in Vietnam. Many of the early illegal actions by the Nixon administration rose from fear that opposition to the war would undermine Nixon’s efforts to build a new “grand design” in foreign affairs, and once the Watergate crisis became a national scandal, the backlash from the war further deteriorated Nixon’s then fragile political position. Further, opposition to the war led to a clash between the president and Congress over the war powers, eventually leading to the passage of the War Powers Act in 1973 over President Nixon’s veto. While initially it appeared that Nixon’s bold claims of plenary presidential war-powers was discredited, it was not long before Nixon’s sweeping assertions of presidential power in foreign affairs and war would be revived, leading to a reemergence of an imperial presidency.1


Foreign Affair Executive Power American Foreign Policy Executive Authority Grand Design 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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Copyright information

© Michael A. Genovese and Iwan W. Morgan 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  • David Gray Adler
  • Michael A. Genovese

There are no affiliations available

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