The Teapot Dome Scandal

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*Includes pictures *Includes quotes from participants and Congress *Includes footnotes, online resources and a bibliography for further reading “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.

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A look at the Teapot Dome scandal, in which government oil reserves were leased without competitive bidding, that rocked the administration of President Warren G. Harding.

The Lone Cornmeal Machine: "The Teapot Dome Scandal"

American Hero Albert B. Fall takes a big risk in order to achieve his American Dream.

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Blaze of Glory: The Legend of Oliver Lee and Pat Garrett by (dba Shopping)

The murder of Colonel Fountain is the most notorious of New Mexico's many unsolved killings. Pat Garrett came out of retirement to track down the killers, and this resulted in the bloody gunfight at the Wildy Well. Feared gunman Oliver Lee and two others were charged with the crime. Albert Bacon Fall who liked to brag that he never lost a murder trial defended them. This trial of the decade was the climax of the west's last great range war, a war so violent that it cost New Mexico statehood for three decades. A huge camp was thrown up overnight in the rugged mountain camp of Hillsboro to accommodate the hundreds of newsmen who flocked in from across the nation. The Tularosa War was a fight for control of the Southwest. The bodies of the two victims were never found. Fall won as he predicted he would, only to meet his downfall and disgrace as the principal figure of Washington's Teapot Dome Scandal. Fountain and Garrett lost the Tularosa War, but both men are still thought of as two of the frontier's best, giants among giants.


teapot dome scandal how big oil bought the harding white house and tried to by Alibris: Books, Music, & Movies

Very Good 2008. Hardcover. Very Good.


Latest News

  • 'Bradley Palmer, The Man Himself' tour on Friday mornings in Topsfield

    07/16/15 ,via Wicked Local Middleton

    He represented President Woodrow Wilson at the Paris Peace Conference in 1919 and acted as an attorney for Sinclair Oil during the Teapot Dome scandal in the 1920s. According to Weil, Palmer was also “a man of mystery” with several quirks. He insisted 

  • Government unloads scandal-ridden Teapot Dome oil field for $45M

    Oil pumps dot the landscape at the Department of Energy's Rocky Mountain Oilfield Testing Center amid the Naval Petroleum Reserve No. 3 near Midwest in this October 2003 file photo. The oil field, which was the center of the 1920s Teapot Dome scandal, 

  • Moon: Should Waffle House flag be new symbol of South?

    06/23/15 ,via Pensacola News Journal

    I've always been a bit lacking when it comes to my understanding of the Teapot Dome Scandal. Maybe I should ask the next Confederate flag waver/history professor I see and ask them to explain it. You know, since history is their thing and all. Look, I


RT @WWECreative_ish: See @WWEBrayWyatt take on @WWERomanReigns in the 2015 version of the Teapot Dome Scandal. #WWEBattleground 07/20/15, @MaikeruNoHentai
.@TheAmazingBriz my favorite question to ask the little scholars is to explain the Teapot Dome Scandal. 07/20/15, @Dbright21
RT @WWECreative_ish: See @WWEBrayWyatt take on @WWERomanReigns in the 2015 version of the Teapot Dome Scandal. #WWEBattleground 07/20/15, @CenationUCME


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  • 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

  • Harding home chronicles 29th president

    07/19/15 ,via

    Although his administration was marred by corruption, including the Teapot Dome scandal, Harding’s election victory and presidency were characterized by several firsts: The first election with nationwide women’s suffrage. The first radio announcement ...

  • 'Bradley Palmer, The Man Himself' tour on Friday mornings in Topsfield

    He represented President Woodrow Wilson at the Paris Peace Conference in 1919 and acted as an attorney for Sinclair Oil during the Teapot Dome scandal in the 1920s. According to Weil, Palmer was also “a man of mystery” with several quirks. He insisted ...

  • The 11 Biggest Government Cover-Ups in History

    06/22/15 ,via INSIDER MONKEY

    One was the Teapot Dome scandal where the secretary of interior, Albert Fall allowed bribes so that companies could tap in the Teapot Dome oil reserve without competitive bidding. One of the most unethical studies in recorded history, the US Public health ...


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 |

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

The Teapot Dome Scandal |

Although the Teapot Dome Scandal of the 1920s was named for a Wyoming rock formation resembling a teapot, the wrongdoers were not from the state. During the ...

Photo by akahawkeyefan on Flickr
The Teapot Dome Gas Station
The Teapot Dome Gas Station
This building was created in 1922 by Jack Ainsworth as a political statement memorializing the Harding Teapot Dome scandal. It's JUST off I-82 about 15 miles southeast of Yakima and may have been the oldest operating gas station in the US before it shut down in 2003.
Photo by Great Beyond on Flickr
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
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teapot dome scandal the teapot dome scandal was the worst harding ...
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