Teapot Dome Scandal

From Ohio History Central
Daugherty, Harry M. and Warren G. Harding.jpg
Harry M. Daugherty and Warren G. Harding at Harding's home in Marion, Ohio during the 1920 presidential campaign. He served as a campaign adviser to Harding. After Harding was elected he appointed Daugherty Attorney General, a cabinet post that Daugherty held from 1921-1924. He resigned amid charges that he was involved in a conspiracy to defraud the government known as the Teapot Dome scandal.

In 1920, Ohioan Warren Gamaliel Harding won election as President of the United States. President Harding’s legacy largely still is tied to the Teapot Dome Scandal. The scandal received its name from the government-owned oil fields in Teapot Dome, Wyoming. Oil lands in Elk Hills, Ca., also were included under the Teapot Dome umbrella.

The upshot of the Teapot Dome Scandal was the accusation that Harding’s Secretary of the Interior, Albert Fall, had bypassed the open bid process in awarding leases for government oil land to private oil companies. The practice of leasing government oil land was common because of the passage of the General Leasing Act under President Wilson.

Fall, who had been a well respected senator from New Mexico prior to his two-year stint in Interior, allegedly had routed the leases to two oil companies in return for a $100,000 gift. At the end of a lengthy Senate investigation and ensuing trial, he was convicted of accepting the bribe, sentenced to a year in jail and fined $100,000; one oilman spent six months in jail for perjury; the other was acquitted of giving Fall the bribe.

See Also


  1. Anthony, Carl Sferrazza.

<city> <place>Florence</place></city> Harding: The First Lady, the Jazz Age and the Death of <country-region> <place>America</place></country-region>'s Most Scandalous President. <place> <city>New York</city>, <state>NY</state></place>: W. Morrow & Co., 1998.  

  1. Daugherty, Henry Micajah. The Inside Story of the Harding Tragedy. New York, NY: The Churchill Company, 1932. 
  2. Mee, Charles L., Jr. The Ohio Gang: The World of Warren G. Harding. New York, NY: M. Evans, 1981.
  3. Murray, Robert K. The Harding Era: Warren G. Harding and His Administration. Minneapolis, University of Minnesota Press, 1969.  
  4. Murray, Robert K. The Politics of Normalcy: Governmental Theory and Practice in the Harding-Coolidge Era. New York, NY: Norton, 1973. 
  5. Trani, Eugene P, and David L. Wilson. The Presidency of Warren G. Harding. Lawrence: Regents Press of Kansas, 1977.