A Letter From The Publisher, Jan. 7, 1974

TIME'S choice for Man of the Year has, as a rule, been a well-known, easily recognizable, sometimes symbolic figure. Charles Lindbergh was our first choice 46 years ago; since then, villains and heroes, from Hitler to Martin Luther King Jr., have been singled out for dominating the news of the year and for leaving an indelible mark — for good or for ill — on history.

The man on this week's cover was largely unknown outside Washington, D.C., legal circles until last January, when the "Watergate Seven" defendants appeared in his courtroom. Says Senior Editor Jason McManus, who has edited most of...

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