November 3: Ken Hughes on “Chasing Shadows: The Nixon Tapes, the Chennault Affair, and the Origins of Watergate”

Forty years after Watergate forced Richard Nixon to resign, Americans still ask why he launched the cover-up that destroyed his presidency. If he hadn’t, he would have lost the presidency much faster, according to Ken Hughes of UVA’s Miller Center. Hughes traces the origins of Watergate back to the final days of the 1968 presidential campaign, when the Nixon campaign sabotaged Vietnam peace talks for political gain, and argues that Nixon’s ultimate loss of the White House was rooted in an obsession with seizing the evidence of the crime by which he gained the presidency in the first place.

Since 2000, Ken Hughes has been a researcher with the White House tapes program of the University of Virginia’s Miller Center. A graduate of Cornell University, Hughes has written about the secret presidential recordings of Nixon, Lyndon Johnson and John Kennedy for the New York Times Magazine, Washington Post, Boston Globe Magazine, Salon, History News Network, Diplomatic History and other publications.

The seminar meets at 4:00 p.m. at the Woodrow Wilson Center, 6th Floor Moynihan Board Room, Ronald Reagan Building, Federal Triangle Metro Stop.

The seminar is sponsored jointly by the National History Center of the American Historical Association and the Wilson Center. It meets weekly during the academic year. See for the schedule, speakers, topics, and dates as well as webcasts and podcasts. The seminar thanks the Society for Historians of American Foreign Relations for its support.