Scandals in History
Unusual for a candidate mired in such a scandal Cleveland admitted guilt in the matter. Chants of "Ma, ma, where's my pa? Off to the White House, ha ha ha!
This is an often forgotten but at the time major scandal under the presidency of Andrew Jackson, one of the most famous presidents in United States history. It began with the marriage of Jackson's secretary of war, John Henry Eaton, to recently widowed Margaret Timberlake, whose husband had committed suicide. The marriage proved a great scandal in American high society, with rumors that Eaton had been having an affair with Timberlake which led to her first husband's suicide.
Most of Jackson's cabinet turned against Eaton but Jackson supported him, and the controversy led to such a conflict that almost Jackson's entire cabinet resigned over the issue. It also led to Jackson's vice president, John C. Calhoun, falling from favor and being replaced by Martin Van Buren in Jackson's second election campaign. Van Buren had been the only cabinet member to support the Eatons and thus had gained Jackson's favor.
The Credit Mobilier scandal was the first major corruption scandal in the wake of the Civil War. Starting in , several high-ranking Republican congressmen all close supporters of soon to be President Ulysses S. The Congressmen then proceeded to grant a number of public subsidies and other gifts to the company to help line their own pockets.
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Another of the major players was another future President: James A. Thomas Jefferson's alleged relationship with Sally Hemmings was the first presidential sex scandal in the United States and prompted a discussion that continues to this day. In Jefferson was charged with having an affair with his slave, Sally Hemmings, and in fact fathering a child.
Jefferson denied the charges and remained as president for another 7 years, however the debate about the truth of the matter continued until when DNA testing proved that Jefferson more than likely fathered at least one of Sally Hemming's children. Ulysses S. Grant's presidency is often considered to be one of the most corrupt in history, and with good reason, as two major scandals took place during his presidency. The second was the Whiskey Ring scandal, involving a bribery and tax evasion scandal among many high ranking members of his cabinet and even his own private secretary and whiskey distillers.
It resulted in the impeachment of his secretary of war, William Belknap, although he resigned before he could be convicted. Iran-Contra is one of the biggest scandals to rock the presidency in modern times. Admiral John M.
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Poindexter and Lt. Colonel Oliver North became the major targets of the scandal and became embroiled in lengthy trials and originally convicted for their roles although these convictions were later released on appeal, among fourteen other persons charged criminally in the whole affair. The scandal continues to be a black mark upon the Reagan presidency for many. The Teapot Dome scandal of the Warren G. Harding administration has long been one of the poster boys of the world of presidential scandals.
Harding transferred control of naval oil reserve lands over to the Department of the Interior in although it was later reversed by the Supreme Court, who ruled the move illegal. Then Secretary of the Interior Albert B. Fall used his new power for personal gain, giving rights to the Teapot Dome Reserve in Wyoming to the Mammoth Oil company in return for bribes. The Watergate scandal of the early s is the gold standard of American political scandals because it forced Richard M.
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Nixon to become the first—and thus far the only—U. Sirica and the Senate special investigating committee chaired by Samuel J. Ervin, Jr. On August 9, , facing likely impeachment , Nixon stepped down. Nixon was pardoned by his successor, Pres. Gerald Ford. Warren G. Charles R. Forbes, head of the Veterans Bureau, was convicted on bribery and corruption charges.
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But the scandal for which Harding is remembered was engineered by Secretary of the Interior Albert B. Fall persuaded Harding to transfer control of the reserves from the Navy to the Department of the Interior. Sinclair of Mammoth Oil. Fall was convicted of accepting bribes and became the first sitting cabinet member to be imprisoned.
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Harding was never personally implicated in the scandal, but the stress related to it took a toll on his health, and he died in office. Like Harding, Ulysses S. Grant was seen as a man of great personal integrity. But, also like Harding, Grant was a poor judge of character, and his presidential administration was awash in corruption. Before the election , Grant dispatched Internal Revenue supervisor Gen. John McDonald to Missouri to bolster waning political support. Babcock, and intimated that Grant might be involved, the president fired and replaced Henderson.
Convinced that Babcock was innocent, Grant testified on his behalf. Babcock went free, but of the other individuals who were indicted were convicted. Schuyler Colfax. When the scandal broke, Ames and Rep. Garfield , were papered over. Two actions that had been proscribed by U. As the layers of the complex scandal were peeled away daily by televised congressional hearings, it was revealed that U. Marine Corps Lieut. Reagan claimed to have had no knowledge of the diversion of funds; Vice Pres.