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The Teapot Dome Scandal

The Teapot Dome scandal originated during the roaring 20s (Persing, 2015), because Warren G. Harding gave important government jobs to his crooked friends. One of his friends, Albert B. Fall, was appointed head of the Department of the Interior. He asked Harding to give him control of the property that housed the Navy oil supplies (Vision Chasers, 2016).

During this time, the Navy had been transitioning from coal ships to oil ships. Since oil was scarce, those in command of the Navy were worried about running out of it. They wanted oil set aside specifically for the Navy ships (Vision Chasers, 2016). Prior to Harding’s presidency, William Taft set aside multiple pieces of land for this purpose (Lonecornmealmachine, 2011). Two of those pieces were involved in the Teapot Dome scandal. One was in Wyoming, and was characterized by a rock formation that looked like a large teapot. The second was Elk Hill in California (Persing, 2015).

Albert Fall took the land Harding gave him, and immediately leased it to two different oil tycoons, Harry F. Sinclair and Edward L. Doheny (Vision Chasers, 2016). They supposedly bribed Fall with money and a herd of cattle (Persing, 2015), in order to have drilling rights on these properties. Since it was against the law for a person in the government to use their position in office to make money, Fall broke the law. In 1923, after Warren G. Harding died, the scandal came to light (Persing, 2015). Fall was eventually found out, had to pay a fine, and was sentenced to a year in jail (Vision Chasers, 2016). Sinclair and Doheny were never charged with any wrongdoing, even though they were connected with the scandal. Harding, on the other had, has had his presidential legacy marred by the event.

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