Area 90: The U.S. Throughout the Great Depression (1920s-1930s)Question: What lessons have the right to be learned from the effects of the Great Depression?

Background for teachers and also students:

The Teapot Dome Scandal—among the the majority of serious corruption scandals in the history of the UNITED STATE government—concerned light in 1922 and continued to trouble American politics for years. The secretary of the U.S. Department of the Interior, Albert Fall, accepted bribes from oilmales Harry Sinclair and Edward Doheny and allowed them to drill for oil in Wyoming’s Teapot Dome Naval Petroleum Reserve.

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The reserve was named for a sandrock rock that as soon as looked a great deal choose a teapot. The oil in the reserve was collection aside for use by the UNITED STATE Navy’s ships during a nationwide emergency. The reserve is part of the larger Salt Creek Oil Field, in north Natrona County north of Casper, Wyo. 

UNITED STATE President Warren G. Harding, a Republideserve to, that had appointed Albert Fall to his short article, went together with Fall’s request to transport control over the naval petroleum reserves from the UNITED STATE Navy to the Department of the Interior. Supposedly this was to administer much better protection for the reserves, which were to be kept for emergency objectives only however were not to be leased out for general manufacturing and also sale. Fall, yet, made personal deals with Sinclair and also Doheny after they phelp him bribes so that their carriers could lease the oil and drill for it in all 3 of the nationwide petroleum reserves, of which the Teapot Dome reserve came to be the many famous. Once the oil was out of the groud, the service providers might then offer it for a profit and also phelp the government a nobility.

Wyoming oil man Leslie Miller, a Democrat who later on would be chosen governor, grew suspicious of foul play as soon as he noticed trucks from Sinclair’s firm hauling drilling tools right into the Teapot Dome reserve. Miller asked Wyoming’s UNITED STATE Sen. John B. Kendrick, likewise a Democrat, to look right into this issue, and also Kendrick referred the matter to a Senate investigating committee. Existence of the leases came to be public in April 1922. Public interemainder in the scandal flourished from that point on.


In the summer of 1923, Harding travebrought about the West, avoiding in Wyoming, Yellowstone National Park and also Alaska. However, he passed away unexpectedly in San Francisco. Some historians believe Congress might well have actually impeached Harding for his duty in the scandal had actually he not passed away that year. A few years later on, Albert Fall became the first cabinet-level officer in Amerihave the right to history to go to jail for crimes committed while serving in office. Though Fall had been convicted of accepting bribes, Sinclair and also Doheny were exonerated of the charges of giving the bribes to Fall. Sinclair did serve a 9-month prichild term for contempt of Congress. Sinclair had actually hired detectives to trail jury members during the original bribery trial. 

In a final court activity, the UNITED STATE government sued to cancel the leases that Fall had offered as bribes to Sinclair. U.S. District Judge T. Blake Kennedy in Wyoming ruled that the leases were legal and also had to remain in impact. The UNITED STATE Supreme Court finally overturned Kennedy’s decision, but, and the leases were canceled.

Because of the corruption neighboring Harding, many type of historians still think about him among the worst pcitizens ever to serve in that office.

The selections attached listed below, “The Teapot Dome Scandal” and also sections of “The Oil Firm in Wyoming” market comprehensive background on the topic for teachers and for students 8th grade and up. The articles may be demanding for 6th and also 7th graders.

Read “The Teapot Dome Scandal.” 

Read sections of “The Oil Business in Wyoming” titled Salt Creek Field, Changing the Land also Laws, Teapot Dome and The Depression.


1. Explain the cartoon

The political cartoon, over, was publimelted in a Washington, D.C. newspaper in 1924, a presidential election year. President Harding had died the year before and also his previous vice-president, Calvin Coolidge, was around to run properly for the office. 

For assist organizing your thoughts, downfill this photo evaluation page and fill it out.

What does “White Housage Highway” mean? Who, do you think, are the two men in the road? Is tbelow anyone else in the picture? What is the big machine? You’ll watch the cartoon has just a one-word caption: “Juggernaut.” What does that mean? Look up the word if you don’t understand it. Was the scandal a juggernaut? Why or why not?

Write a couple of sentences about the cartoon—or draw one more one around the scandal. Use examples from the articles attached above to safeguard or describe your answer.

2. Tell the story

See if you deserve to tell the story—in a brief essay, a Power Point slide present or an oral presentation—of the Teapot Dome Scandal and also how it impacted both Wyoming and the country. 

You’ll need to consider: Who were the key figures in the scandal? What did they execute to cause the trouble? Did they commit crimes? If so, were they punished? How? Why was oil drilling in the reserve initially prohibited? How is it that companies went ahead and also drilled for the oil, even though this was prohibited? Use examples from the articles linked above to safeguard or define your answer.

For more background, consider also why the oil area came to be a UNITED STATE Naval Petroleum Reserve and its significance to UNITED STATE national defense. Exordinary the component coal played in the breakthrough of the petroleum reserves. Exsimple why this naval petroleum reserve was not closer to among the coasts of the USA.

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3. Guide a tour of the oil field

Imagine you are schedubrought about take some history-minded tourists from outside Wyoming on a van tour of the area roughly Teapot Dome. Before you leave on the expedition, you have 15 minutes to introduce them to the history of the scandal and give them an principle of what they could see.

Polish the essay, slide show or dental presentation you arisen in Exercise 2 to provide your guests a review of the topic

You can want to hand also out copies of these two maps. The initially locates the Teapot Dome reserve in Wyoming; the second provides a closer look at the topography of the reserve. What features on the maps would you suggest out to your guests?


If you like paper maps, find a Wyoming state highway map. If you prefer computer maps, click here for a collection of good maps of Wyoming’s physical attributes in the Wyoming Student Atlas. Can you situate Teapot Rock? (Hint: check out the map titled “More Natural Landmarks.”) 


Now imagine that instead of riding in a van, you and your guests will be able to fly over the field in a little airplane. Next, watch this two-minute animated flyover of a trip from Casper north to the Teapot Dome Oil Field:



Whether you fly to the oil area from Casper or some other location in Wyoming, what route would you take? Figure it out from the maps. What features would you be sure to point out to your out-of-state guests? What stories would go with them?