Teapot Dome Scandals

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In this amazing and at times ribald story, Laton McCartney tells how Big Oil handpicked Warren G. Harding, an obscure Ohio senator, to serve as our twenty-third president. Harding and his “oil cabinet” made it possible for cronies to secure vast fuel reserves that had been set aside for use by the U.S. Navy. In exchange, the oilmen paid off senior government officials, bribed newspaper publishers, and covered the GOP campaign debt. When news of the scandal finally emerged, the consequences were disastrous. Drawing on contemporary records newly made available to McCartney, The Teapot Dome Scandal reveals a shocking, revelatory picture of just how far-reaching the affair was, how high the stakes, and how powerful the conspirators–all told in a dazzling narrative style.

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*Includes pictures
*Includes quotes from participants and Congress
*Includes footnotes, online resources and a bibliography for further reading
*Includes a table of contents

“I have no trouble with my enemies. I can take care of my enemies in a fight. But my friends, my goddamned friends, they're the ones who keep me walking the floor at nights!” – President Warren Harding

Americans in the 21st century cite the relatively recent Watergate Scandal, and to a lesser degree the Enron Oil Scandal, as prime examples of modern governmental corruption. It is a widely held perception that these incidents, particularly the one bringing about the first resignation of an American president, caused the public to lose trust in federal institutions and political figures.

However, the prototype for the breakdown of governmental fidelity lies in the early 20th century, a time in which the recent territories of the United States struggled to evolve from a lawless, Wild West culture. The federal government viewed its western resources as both unlimited and outside the grasp of the government. The leading oil barons, born and raised in the 19th century, were accustomed to federally-blessed land-grabs and easily obtained mining and lumber interests, often doled out to the social and financial elite under the guise of exploration. Federal interference was minimal in contrast to later decades, and the government itself was eager to conquer the West through large-tract farming, river management, mineral and timber development, not to mention the procurement of oil for a growing society as coal gave way to new types of fuel.

The early 20th century was a time of sudden growth for the young American automobile industry, and of a military beginning to extend its reach around the world. In what would become largely a jurisdictional dispute over Western natural resources, the unbridled oil industry of the new century collided with the United States military and the Department of the Interior, set against the dominance of a corruption-riddled presidential administration. For the first time in American history, in a test between entrepreneurism and government management, a high-ranking cabinet official was convicted of corruption and sent to prison in the aftermath, along with his co-conspirators.

In the ensuing Congressional investigation that sought to root out the widespread graft, bribery, and usurpation of government property over the following decade, the two-year affair became commonly known as the Teapot Dome Scandal. Although three major oil fields were actually involved, including Elk Hills and Buena Vista in the San Joaquin Valley of California, the symbol of the incident became a rock formation north of Casper, Wyoming, shaped in what most observers would describe as a teapot. Beneath this formation lay an enormous reservoir of crude oil, and all of it the property of the United States Navy.

On June 4, 1920, Congress at last declared that the Secretary of the Navy was to hold the power to “conserve, develop, use and operate,” at its discretion, a tract of approximately 70,000 acres in California. The Wyoming fields fell under the same dictate, and although Teapot was the smaller reserve in terms of acreage, it contained a great deal more oil than its Californian counterparts.

Although never directly implicated in the row over Teapot Dome and its sister fields, the administration of Republican Warren G. Harding, elected in November of 1921, set the scandal in motion by transferring control of the Navy’s oil fields to the Department of Interior, at the Secretary of the Interior’s incessant urging. Albert Fall, the Secretary of the Interior at the time and a Harding appointee, was one of several poker-playing cronies in the president’s cabinet. Once his department gained control over the Navy’s oil fields, Fall subsequently took it upon himself to offer secret leases and contracts to independent oil companies.


The Strange Deaths of President Harding: Tea Pot Dome & Veteran's Bureau Scandals (1996)

Warren Gamaliel Harding (November 2, 1865 -- August 2, 1923) was the 29th President of the United States (1921--1923), a Republican from Ohio who served .

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Gaston B Means (1879-1838) Testifying Before The Senate Committee Investigating The Teapot Dome Scandal On March 14 History (24 x 18) by Rakuten.com

Gaston B. Means (1879-1838) Testifying Before The Senate Committee Investigating The Teapot Dome Scandal On March 14 was reproduced on Premium Heavy Stock Paper which captures all of the vivid colors and details of the original. The overall paper size is 24.00 x 18.00 inches and the image size is 24.00 x 18.00 inches. This print is ready for hanging or framing. Brand New and Rolled and ready for display or framing. Print Title: Gaston B. Means (1879-1838) Testifying Before The Senate Committee Investigating The Teapot Dome Scandal On March 14. Paper Size: 24.00 x 18.00 inches. Product Type: Poster Print.


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Latest News

  • Anoka County History: Revisiting the Tea Pot Dome scandal of 1923

    07/21/15 ,via ABC Newspapers

    The Teapot Dome Scandal engendered public outrage during the Harding administration of the early 1920s. On one hand, it was a relatively minor blip on the radar of history – a crooked government official caught with his hand in the cookie jar – but the 

  • The Great Gay Sex Scandal Switcheroo

    08/14/15 ,via Huffington Post

    The Teapot Dome Scandal and Iran-Contra could have turned out differently if only a little gay sex had been thrown in to distract the public and the press from finding out the truth. Rod Blagojevich, Anthony Weiner, Joey Buttafuoco, Eliot Spitzer, Jim

  • DNA test reveals President Warren Harding's affair and love child

    08/14/15 ,via myfox8.com

    March 1921: Warren Gamaliel Harding (1865 - 1923), the 29th President of the United States of America, riding in a carriage with the former President Woodrow Wilson (1856 - 1924) during the Inauguration ceremony. (Photo by Topical Press Agency/Getty 


@FrankConniff Teapot Dome scandals are the latest craze. 08/13/15, @Marlowinc


  • Teapot Cake

    pound cake, food coloring, frosting, food coloring

  • Chocolate-Honey Dome Cake with Chocolate-Honey Glaze

    flour, baking soda, semisweet chocolate, semisweet chocolate, buttermilk, cocoa powder, eggs, heavy cream, heavy cream, honey, honey, honey, nonstick cooking spray, pecan, salt, sour cream, sugar, unflavored gelatin, vanilla extract, vegetable oil, water


  • The Teapot Dome Scandal

    Random House. 2008. ISBN: 9781588367662,1588367665. 351 pages.

    Mix hundreds of millions of dollars in petroleum reserves; rapacious oil barons and crooked politicians; under-the-table payoffs; murder, suicide, and blackmail; White House cronyism; and the excesses of the Jazz Age. The result: the granddaddy of all American political scandals, Teapot Dome. In The Teapot Dome Scandal, acclaimed author Laton McCartney tells the amazing, complex, and at times ribald story of how Big Oil handpicked Warren G. Harding, an obscure Ohio senator, to serve as our twenty-third president. Harding and his so-called “oil cabinet” made it possible for the oilmen to secure vast oil reserves that had been set aside for use by the U.S. Navy. In exchange, the oilmen paid off senior government officials, bribed newspaper publishers, and covered the GOP campaign debt....

  • The Teapot Dome Scandal

    Capstone. 2007. ISBN: 0756533368,9780756533366. 96 pages.

    Chronicles the 1921 scandal in which Secretary of the Interior Albert Fall leased oil reserves without competitive bidding in exchange for sizeable sums of money.

Bing news feed

  • DNA: President Harding fathered child out of wedlock

    08/14/15 ,via MLive

    Historians rank Harding low among the presidents, and he is known mostly for the Teapot Dome scandal that took place during his administration. Family members who researched Harding's history said he was in a sexless marriage and had several mistresses.

  • Sure He Fathered a Child Out of Wedlock, But Warren G. Harding Deserves Better From History

    08/14/15 ,via Sunshine State News

    He shouldn’t be. There were plenty of scandals under Harding’s watch, namely the Teapot Dome. Harding’s presidency actually doesn’t appear as ethically challenged as plenty of other presidencies, including Grant’s, Nixon’s, Clinton’s ...

  • AncestryDNA proves President Harding fathered child out of wedlock

    08/14/15 ,via Deseret News

    Historians rank Harding low among the presidents, and he is known mostly for the Teapot Dome scandal that took place during his administration. Family members who researched his history said he was in a sexless marriage and had several mistresses.


Teapot Dome scandal - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

The Teapot Dome scandal was a bribery incident that took place in the United States from 1921 to 1924, during the administration of President Warren G. Harding ...

Teapot Dome Scandal | United States history | Britannica.com

Teapot Dome Scandal, also called Oil Reserves Scandal or Elk Hills Scandal, Teapot Dome Scandal: cartoon The Granger Collection, New York in American history, ...

Teapot Dome Scandal - History - HowStuffWorks

The Teapot Dome Scandal played a big role in the history of the Roaring 20's and the Great Depression in America. Learn more about the Teapot Dome Scandal at ...

Teapot Dome Gas Station-Zillah, WA
Teapot Dome Gas Station-Zillah, WA
This little gas station was built in 1922, a commentary on the Teapot Dome scandal involving President Harding and a federal petroleum reserve in Wyoming. Said to be the oldest gas station in use in the country (No longer in use), it survived partially because it was moved years ago, to be closer to the interstate. Neat!
Photo by gayle kingston on Flickr
Photo by akahawkeyefan on Flickr
Dome of Teapot Dome
Dome of Teapot Dome
This is the top of Teapot Dome in Idaho, one of the more recognizable landmarks in Idaho along the Oregon Trail. There is another, entirely different Teapot Dome in Wyoming which was made infamous by the bribery scandal over the leasing of oil reserves back in the 1920s.
Photo by gharness on Flickr
teapot dome scandal
teapot dome scandal