Study Guide

All the President's Men Patriotism

Patriotism

Looking back at All the President's Men from over forty years in the future, it's hard to believe there was once a time when men wore their hair the way Dustin Hoffman does. It's also hard to believe that there was once a time when people trusted and supported the president completely.

One of the main reasons Woodward and Bernstein's investigation is opposed is the attitude of "the president would never do anything like that!" And why? Because of that honest face? Because he has a nice wife, child, and dog at home? No. People believe him just because he is the president.

Yes, people used to actually support the president. This is almost as crazy as believing that people used to wear feathered hair.

Questions About Patriotism

  1. How has the fallout from the Watergate scandal affected all subsequent presidencies?
  2. How do you think the people who supported the president felt after the truth came out?
  3. Could anything like the Watergate scandal happen today, or are people too suspicious of the government for it to ever pull off a similar scheme?

Chew on This

The film exploits the irony of patriotism, ending with Nixon taking the oath of office. By this point, we know what a sham it is, making Nixon's honest oath come across as offensively false.

Although some people believe Woodward and Bernstein are anti-patriotic for attacking the president, they actually have patriotic ideals. They know the president and the country are separate entities, and they are fighting for the country, not its corrupt leader.

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