AMERICAN NOTES: Presidential Perceptions

One of Richard Nixon's most persistent Watergate defense themes is that he will never do anything to weaken the institution of the presidency. A study of children's attitudes toward the office by Political Scientist F. Christopher Arterton of Wellesley College indicates, however, that the Watergate scandal already has profoundly altered at least one small group of the younger generation's perceptions of the presidency.

Writing in the current issue of Political Science Quarterly, Arterton cites a national 1962 study that indicated that children in the third, fourth and fifth grades overwhelmingly idealized the President, viewing him as "benevolent, omniscient, omnipotent,...

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