Presidential Scandals Essay

1776 words - 8 pages

The President of the United States is commonly referred to as the most powerful man in the world. The President is the head of the country which boasts the world’s largest economy, commander and chief of the most powerful military in the world, and has command authority over the largest active nuclear arsenal in the world. However, his power is not unlimited. Throughout the history of the United States, some presidents have attempted to go beyond the powers granted to them. Most of these attempts have ended in scandal. Regardless of whether these actions were for the good of the nation or for personal gain, laws must be obeyed. Otherwise the United States would become the same tyrannical ...view middle of the document...

The President also has the power to veto bills that congress has voted to pass. Occasionally a sitting president attempts to go beyond these powers and the results often end up in a scandal. However, not all scandals result from power grabs, some are just plain political corruption. One such political corruption scandal was the Tea Pot Dome scandal.
The Teapot Dome scandal occurred between 1924 and 1930 and involved President Harding and his administration. Mammoth Oil Company contributed funds to Harding's campaign which played a large role in him being elected. After being elected, Harding appointed Albert Fall as his secretary of Interior. Mammoth Oil believed they would benefit from this because Fall would have the authority to open the Naval Oil Reserves in Wyoming and California. Once the reserves were opened, Mammoth Oil Company was able to secure a lease for a low price on the oil. This allowed them to generate a very large profit. However, the arrangement eventually became public. Essentially, Mammoth Oil Company paid to have Harding elected into power with the expectations that he would make policies that benefitted big oil companies, not the American public. After the scandal broke, the Supreme Court ruled that Harding illegally appointed Fall as the secretary of Interior. Congress put pressure on Harding to nullify the lease between the government and Mammoth Oil Company. Scandals like this show how democracy can be undermined by money. This is political corruption in its simplest form.
The Bay of Pigs scandal highlights how a scandal can affect a country on a global scale. Tensions had been growing between the United States and Cuba since 1959 when Fidel Castro overthrew Fulgencio Batista. In 1960 the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) began planning an invasion of Cuba. Shortly thereafter, the CIA began to train rebels in Cuba. In 1961 the CIA trained rebels used planes and equipment that belonged to the United States to launch an attack against the Cuban army. However, the CIA underestimated the strength and capabilities of the Cuban army. Within four days the rebel force was neutralized. As a result, Castro held the members of the rebel force captive. To secure the rebels release, the United States was forced to give Cuba $53,000,000 worth of food and medicine. The United States embarrassment of being involved in the failed invasion hailed in comparison to the events that transpired afterwards.
The Cold War was a nuclear standoff between the United States and the Soviet Union that began in 1947 and last until 1991. As a result of the Bay of Pigs, in 1962 Fidel Castro allowed the Soviet Union to stage nuclear missiles in Cuba. This lead to a thirteen day standoff known as the Cuban Missile Crisis. The United States was on the cusp of nuclear war during the Cuban Missile Crisis. President Kennedy blockaded the island of Cuba to prevent the Soviet Union from transporting in any more nuclear missiles. The Soviet Union eventually...

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