Siteseen Logo

Credit Mobilier Scandal

Ulysses Grant

Credit Mobilier Scandal: Ulysses Grant was the 18th American President who served in office from March 4, 1869 to March 4, 1877. One of the important events during his presidency was the Credit Mobilier Scandal.

Definition and Summary of the Credit Mobilier Scandal
Summary and definition:
The Credit Mobilier Scandal of 1872 / 1873 involved the illegal manipulation of contracts by the Union Pacific Railroad and the Credit Mobilier construction company. In 1872 the House of Representatives made an extensive inquiry into charges of bribery in connection with the building of the Pacific railroads.

Oakes Ames, a member of the House of Representatives from Massachusetts, was also the head of a company called the "Credit Mobilier" which had been formed to build the Union Pacific Railway.

Fearing that Congress would pass laws that might hurt the enterprise, Oakes Ames gave stock in the company to other members of Congress. Despite the inquiry nothing definite could be proved against any members, and the matter dropped.

Credit Mobilier Scandal History for kids: President Grant and the Scandals of his Administration
The Credit Mobilier Scandal was the second of a series of scandals that rocked the Grant administration.
There was never the slightest doubt as to the personal honesty of Ulysses S. Grant but there were grave doubts as to some of his decisions whilst in office and his judgment in making various appointments, refer to Grantism. The Credit Mobilier Scandal occurred in the post Civil War period at the end of the Reconstruction Era, a time which was marked by widespread political corruption and an extension of the infamous Spoils System. The Union Pacific Railroad and the Credit Mobilier construction company was responsible for the building of the eastern portion of the First Transcontinental Railroad.

Credit Mobilier Scandal Facts for kids
Interesting Credit Mobilier Scandal facts for kids are detailed below. The history of Credit Mobilier Scandal is told in a factual sequence consisting of a series of short facts providing a simple method of relating the history and events of the Credit Mobilier Scandal.

The Union Pacific Railroad and the construction company were involved in the building of the eastern portion of the First Transcontinental Railroad.

The story erupted in 1872 although its scandal's origins dated back to 1864 during the Lincoln presidency, when the Union Pacific Railroad was chartered by the federal government and the Credit Mobilier construction company was established.

Oakes Ames, was a member of the House of Representatives from Massachusetts, and was also the head of a company called the "Credit Mobilier". The company had been formed to build the Union Pacific Railroad.

The federal government had granted the railroad generous loans and contracts for its construction

It later emerged that the building of the transcontinental railroad was fraudulently financed for approximately $50 million more than was necessary.

Oakes Ames was scared that Congress would investigate the finances of the company or pass laws that might hurt the construction enterprise,

In 1868 Congressman Oakes Ames had distributed shares of stock in the construction company and cash bribes to other congressmen during the Johnson presidency.

Rumors surrounding the activities of Oakes Ames and other prominent government officials started to  circulate

Oakes Ames wrote a letter to Colonel Henry S. McComb, another railroad entrepreneur and associate, stating that he had placed the stock "where it will produce the most good to us" and Ames subsequently forwarded a list of Congressmen who had received or were to receive shares.

Ames and McComb then fell out. McComb leaked the letters to Charles A. Dana a newspaper owner.

The story was eventually broken by the Sun, the New York newspaper owned by Charles A. Dana, during the 1872 presidential campaign, when Ulysses S. Grant was running for re-election. The story became an issue of the presidential campaign

The story was a political 'hot potato' and the names of the other officials started to be implicated in the allegations of bribery and corruption.

The important and influential men implicated in the allegations of bribery and corruption included:

  • Henry Wilson the Vice presidential candidate

  • Schyler Colfax, the incumbent vice president

  • James G. Blaine, the Speaker of the House,

  • James Garfield, Member of the House of Representatives, who would later become a future US President

  • Senator James W. Patterson of New Hampshire

  • Representative James Brooks of New York

In 1872 the Senate started and investigation into the story and the politicians who had been implicated.

The investigation ended in 1873 and found that found that the company had given shares to more than thirty representatives of both political parties

Only two politicians were publicly censured: Oakes Ames, the member of the House of Representatives from Massachusetts and Congressional Representative James Brooks of New York

Ames and Brooks were censured for using their political influence for personal financial gain

On February 28, 1873 James Brooks was censured by the House of Representatives for attempted bribery

On February 28, 1873, the House passed a resolution formally censuring Ames "in seeking to secure congressional attention to the affairs of a corporation in which he was interested, and whose interest directly depended upon the legislation of Congress, by inducing members of Congress to invest in the stocks of said corporation."

The punishment of Ames and Brooks was incredibly lenient, there were no prosecutions, they basically recieved a public 'slapped wrist"

US American History
1866-1881: Reconstruction Era

Privacy Statement

Cookie Policy

2017 Siteseen Ltd