The Credit Mobilier scheme



Of the Congressional questions that arose during Grant's first term, one of the most important was that concerning the acquisition of San Domingo. This republic, comprising a large part of the island of Haiti, applied for admission to the United States, an application which was warmly favored by the President. It met, however, with strong opposition in Congress, particularly from Senator Sumner, and the bill for its acceptance was defeated. Another important event of the same term was the exposure of the "Credit Mobilier" scheme, which occurred in 1872. This consisted in an effort to bribe Congress in favor of legislation to the advantage of the Central Pacific Railroad Company. Stock of the railroad was secretly transferred at a nominal price to various members of Congress, for the purpose of influencing their votes, and the exposure of the illegal scheme seriously injured the reputations of many members.

In 1872, General Grant was again elected to the Presidency, with Henry Wilson for Vice-President. Horace Greeley, the nominee of the "Liberal Republican" party, was supported by the Democratic vote, but was defeated by a majority of two hundred and twenty-three electoral votes. This second administration of President Grant was marked by exhibitions of public dishonesty not less discreditable than that of the "Credit Mobilier." In 1875 Secretary Belknap was impeached by Congress on a charge of fraud and peculation in the disposal of Indian posttraderships. He was acquitted by the Senate. About the same time great revenue frauds were discovered, in which persons connected with the government were implicated. This were perpetrated by the "Whiskey Ring" in several western cities. The trials of the accused parties were conducted with so manifest an effort on the part of the Government authorities to shield certain persons as to cause great public distrust and dissatisfaction. The "Star-Route" frauds in the transportation of the mails, and the exposure of the gigantic robberies of the "Tweed Ring" in New York, and of instances of pubic dishonesty in Philadelphia, Chicago, and other cities, were other evidences of political corruption that did not indicate a high standard of political corruption that did not indicate a high standard of political honesty in the United States at the conclusion of its first century of national existence.
 

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