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Post-Watergate Society, 1975-1989
Guide: Redefining the Presidency

These resources highlight the changes to the role of the presidency from the 1960s to the 1980s. Use these resources to show how the expectations and power of the presidency can change. Use the Export to My Lists button above to turn this into a research list for your students.

Time Period Key Understandings

  • Historical events can shape political institutions
  • Legislative policy changes are often a result of events that led to demands for change
  • A nation's economic policy is tied closely to its foreign policy
  • Popular sentiments often change from left to right and can be represented on a pendulum
  • Conflicts resolution is not always intentional, conflicts can resolve naturally and over time
  • A nation's foreign policy actions have legacies that impact future foreign policy
  • A democratic nation's social and cultural norms and practices are likely to change

Key Questions

  • What was the War Powers Act? Why did Congress authorize this action? Was the Act justified?
  • Why did Congress pass the War Powers Resolution?
  • Why did Congress pass the Federal Election Campaign Act? What other measures has Congress taken to reform campaign finance? How successful do you think Congress has been in reforming campaign finance?
  • What was the Freedom of Information Act of 1966? Why was it important to the Watergate investigation?
  • Summarize the factors and events that led to a new political skepticism among the American people. Do you feel that public trust in politicians is better or worse today compared to the Watergate era?


  1. Overview: Redefining the Presidency
  2. Topic Center Overview: Post-Watergate Society, 1975–1989
  3. Visuals: Carter (Visual)
  4. Visuals: Redefining the Presidency (Visual)
  5. Outline: Outline
  6. Lesson: Introduction
  7. Photos & Illustrations: Camp David Accords signed
  8. Photos & Illustrations: Camp David Peace Treaty (1979)
  9. Photos & Illustrations: Carter, Jimmy: delivers "Malaise" speech (1979)
  10. Reference Articles: Carter Doctrine
  11. Reference Articles: Carter, Jimmy: "crisis of confidence" speech
  12. Political, Government & Court Documents: Federal Election Campaign Act (1971)
  13. Political, Government & Court Documents: Freedom of Information Act (1966)
  14. Political, Government & Court Documents: War Powers Resolution (1973)
  15. Speeches: Carter, Jimmy: National Malaise speech (1979)
  16. Audio: Ford, Gerald: Nixon Pardon

MLA Citation

"Redefining the Presidency." History Hub, ABC-CLIO, 2019, historyhub.abc-clio.com/Search/Display/2153095. Accessed 25 Aug. 2019.

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Entry ID: 2153095

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