25
Oct
08

On This Day, 10-25-2008: Teapot Dome Scandal

October 25, 1929

Cabinet member guilty in Teapot Dome scandal

During the Teapot Dome scandal, Albert B. Fall, who served as secretary of the interior in President Warren G. Harding’s cabinet, is found guilty of accepting a bribe while in office. Fall was the first individual to be convicted of a crime committed while a presidential cabinet member.

As a member of President Harding’s corruption-ridden cabinet in the early 1920s, Hall accepted a $100,000 interest-free “loan” from Edward Doheny of the Pan-American Petroleum and Transport Company, who wanted Fall to grant his firm a valuable oil lease in the Elk Hills naval oil reserve in California. The site, along with the Teapot Dome naval oil reserve in Wyoming, had been previously transferred to the Department of the Interior on the urging of Fall, who evidently realized the personal gains he could achieve by leasing the land to private corporations.

In October 1923, the Senate Public Lands Committee launched an investigation that revealed not only the $100,000 bribe that Fall received from Doheny but also that Harry Sinclair, president of Mammoth Oil, had given him some $300,000 in government bonds and cash in exchange for use of the Teapot Dome oil reserve in Wyoming.

In 1927, the oil fields were restored to the U.S. government by a Supreme Court decision. Two years later, Fall was convicted of bribery and sentenced to one year in prison and a fine of $100,000. Doheny escaped conviction, but Sinclair was imprisoned for contempt of Congress and jury tampering.

“Cabinet member guilty in Teapot Dome scandal.” 2008. The History Channel website. 25 Oct 2008, 07:24 http://www.history.com/this-day-in-history.do?action=Article&id=5469.

On This Day

2137 B.C. – Chinese Royal astronomers, Ho and Hsi, were executed after not predicting a solar eclipse caused panic in the streets of China.

1415 – In Northern France, England won the Battle of Agincourt over France during the Hundred Years’ War. Almost 6000 Frenchmen were killed while fewer than 400 were lost by the English.

1812 – During the War of 1812, the U.S. frigate United States captured the British vessel Macedonian.

1854 – The Charge of the Light Brigade took place during the Crimean War. The British were winning the Battle of Balaclava when Lord James Cardigan received an order to attack the Russians. He took his troops into a valley and suffered 40 percent caualties. Later it was revealed that the order was the result of confusion and was not given intentionally.

1881 – The founder of “Cubism,” Pablo Picasso, was born in Malaga, Spain.

1917 – The Bolsheviks (Communists) under Vladimir Ilyich Lenin seized power in Russia.

1931 – The George Washington Bridge opened to traffic.

1962 – U.S. Ambassador Adlai Stevenson presented photographic evidence to the United Nations Security Council. The photos were of Soviet missile bases in Cuba.

1962 – American author John Steinbeck was awarded the Nobel Prize in literature.

1971 – The U.N. General Assembly voted to expel Taiwan and admit mainland China.

1983 – U.S. troops and soldiers from six Caribbean nations invaded Grenada to restore order and provide protection to U.S. citizens after a recent coup within Grenada’s Communist (pro-Cuban) government.

1999 – Golfer Payne Stewart and five others were killed when their Learjet crashed in South Dakota. The plane flew uncontrolled for four hours before the crash.

October 25, 1764

John Adams marries Abigail Smith

On this day in 1764, future President John Adams marries Abigail Smith. This devoted couple’s prolific correspondence during their married life has provided entertainment and a glimpse of early American life for generations of history buffs.

Future first lady Abigail Adams was the daughter of a parson. She was home-taught and read everything from the classics to contemporary law. When she met her future husband, Adams appreciated her intellect and outspokenness. Both were staunch Federalists and abolitionists, but when their views did diverge, Abigail never hesitated to debate her husband on political or social matters. Their letters to each other during long absences imposed by his ministerial duties in France and England have been archived, published and analyzed in great detail. They discuss an array of public issues of concern to early Americans and shed a special light on the debate over the role of women in the new nation.

While Adams was attending the first Continental Congress in 1774, Abigail wrote to him to “remember the ladies” when he and his revolutionary cohorts began drafting new laws for the fledgling nation. She asserted that “all men would be tyrants if they could” and pointed out that male Patriots who were fighting British tyranny would appear hypocritical if they should disregard the rights of half the population, the country’s women, when drafting a constitution. Abigail warned “if particular care and attention is not paid to the Ladies, we are determined to foment a rebellion and will not hold ourselves bound by any laws in which we have no voice, or Representation.”

With the rise of political factions, Adams and his wife found themselves attacked in the press by their Republican opponents during his presidency (1797 – 1801) and unsuccessful reelection campaign against Thomas Jefferson in 1800. The couple subsequently returned to their home in Quincy, Massachusetts, where Adams spent his last years writing his memoirs.

Abigail Adams died in 1818 at the age of 73. Her grandson was the first to publish some of her letters 30 years later. John Adams died on July 4, 1826.

“John Adams marries Abigail Smith.” 2008. The History Channel website. 25 Oct 2008, 07:24 http://www.history.com/this-day-in-history.do?action=Article&id=51404.

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