We Know We Belong to the Land - A Hundred Years of Oklahoma and the Congress
America in Turmoil (part 2)
In the early 1970s the worst political scandal in fifty years toppled the Richard Nixon presidency, tainted several members of Congress for personal failings and foreign and domestic influence peddling, and injected “gate” into American journalism as a catch-phrase for any allegations that bubbled to the surface. Events called into question the pledge John F. Kennedy gave at his inauguration that Americans “shall pay a price, bear any burden, meet any hardship, support any friend, oppose any foe, in order to assure the survival and the success of liberty."
Vice President Spiro Agnew's resignation letter
Speaker Carl Albert's statement on Spiro Agnew's resignation
President Richard Nixon, Vice President Spiro Agnew, and Speaker Carl Albert
Above: Carl Albert (D-OK, 1947-1976) served as the 46th Speaker of the House of Representatives from 1971 to 1976, a tumultuous period which saw issues such as Vietnam, busing, the economy, the energy crisis, and Watergate. During the Watergate era, Albert (right) faced unique and difficult decisions. After Vice President Spiro Agnew's (top left) resignation, Albert was second in power to President Richard M. Nixon (lower left), while simultaneously presiding over the only body with power to impeach. Many members of Congress demanded Nixon's immediate removal and Albert could have made himself president. Instead, the Speaker chose to proceed cautiously and judiciously.
Tom Steed, Speaker Sam Rayburn, and Majority Whip Carl Albert
Above: Representative Tom Steed (left) and Majority Whip Carl Albert confer with Speaker of the House Sam Rayburn (D-TX) ca. 1960. 
Carl Albert

Audio Clip: Carl Albert, Speaker of the House
The six years when Carl Albert was Speaker of the House saw some of the most turbulent events ever to happen in Congress. Vice President Spiro Agnew's 1973 resignation and conviction on tax evasion and money laundering charges required a congressionally-appointed replacement for the first time in history. That replacement, Gerald Ford, would become president less than a year later when Richard Nixon resigned amid the Watergate scandal. Following Nixon's resignation speech to the nation, Albert gave this interview to reporters.

On President Nixon's Resignation Speech, August 8, 1974 (Running time: 9:10)

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