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Book Report - Whiskey Ring Reading

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American History

Chapter 10

Whiskey Ring Reading

Using the link provided on the American History Portals page, start reading at the 13th paragraph which begins with “Republican operatives formed the Whiskey Ring in 1871…” and continue reading to “…he was in the uncommon position of being able to rise to the first while advancing to the second.”

  1. What was the purpose of the Whiskey Ring?

Using it to fund political campains

  1. How did the Whiskey Ring(s) operate?

They sold more wisky then they told the treshery about

Benjamin Bristow is appointed to the Secretary of the Treasury.  He begins to investigate the fraud.  However, he feels that President Grant is throwing-up roadblocks to the investigation.  Begin reading at “Frustrated with the course of his department's investigation …” and end with “…Colony and his men had collected the information Bristow needed to arrest the whiskey thieves.”

  1. How did Bristow eventually gather enough evidence to prove the existence of the Whiskey Ring?

He hired people to spy on them moneter grain and illeagle night distilling and after four weeks he had the evidence

General Orville Babcock was a St. Louis native and Grant’s personal secretary.  He began working with Grant during the Civil War and stayed with him to the White House.  It was said that you did not see Grant without first seeing Babcock.  The evidence uncovered by Bristow pointed to Babcock being the head of the St. Louis Whiskey Ring.  When Babcock was put on trial, it appeared to Bristow that Grant was working against the government and protecting Babcock.  Grant went so far as to testify on Babcock’s behalf.  It was the first and only time a sitting president has testified on behalf of the defense during a criminal trial.  The rest of the trial was filled with character witnesses for Babcock and questionable legal movements by the judge.  In the end, Babcock was found not guilty.  He was the only alleged member of the St. Louis Whiskey Ring to be found not guilty.  He lost his position of personal aide to the president and became the Chief Lighthouse Inspector.  He drowned a few years later off the coast of Florida.  

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