Mark Twain, an American writer who called 19thcentury America “the Gilded Age”, was influential. This was a reference to the fact that the period was corrupt beneath the surface. Many events took place during this “Gilded Age”, such as the Panic in 1873, the Pullman strike and many more. The Credit Mobilier Scandal was one of the many events that took place during this period. This was one event that Twain called the “Gilded Age” due to many reasons.
The Credit Mobilier Scamal was a scheme by the Union Pacific Railroad to bribe federal legislators in return for business favors. Around the 1860s, Union Pacific Railroad was given the responsibility of building a transcontinental railway. Union Pacific’s corporate leaders had the idea of creating a dummy company to divert public funds to their benefit. Union Pacific Railroad stockholders set up a credit mobilier of America company and presented the contracts for the construction of the railroad. Union Pacific representatives had made secret deals with federal lawmakers. The Credit Mobilier company offered stock to congressmen in exchange for a share of the public funds that would be transferred through it. The congressmen also gave the company many land grants and nice subsidies from the government in exchange for stock options. Twain said that the period was corrupted underneath. The fact that both Credit Mobilier’s congressional stockholders and the Union Pacific got rich because of this occurred is proof of this. Each side got what it wanted. The scandal, which harmed many Gilded Age politicians, impacted America politically at that time. The scandal broke because of the obvious exchange of favors. This scandal was discovered by Congress, who conducted an investigation and brought all of the information to public attention. Oakes Ames of Massachusetts was censured, while James Brooks of New York was also censured. In addition to this, the scandal also ended the careers and political lives of Henry Wilson, James A. Garfield, as well as Schuyler Kolfax, who was left as vice president. The scandal showed how corruption corrupted Gilded Age politics. It also revealed just how far railroads, other economic interests would go in order to maximize profits.