When Friday Went Black
Ulysses S. Grant’s presidency did not go smoothly. One of the biggest scandals occurred in 1869, when a group of speculators raised the US gold market.
The plan began when financier James Fisk and baron robber Jay Gould formed a group of speculators with the aim of cornering the gold market, which would give the group the ability to manipulate prices. Of course, people can only corner the market if there is a fixed amount of gold. If not, the government can only sell large amounts of gold, and cornering efforts will be an expensive failure. In an effort to avoid this fate, Gould and Fisk bring President Grant Abel Corbin’s brother-in-law into their folds. Using Corbin’s influence to get an audience with the President, the couple will argue for Grant that selling gold is a terrible idea that the government must avoid it in any way. The clever couple also used their influence in the White House to secure a position as assistant treasurer of the United States for Daniel Butterfield, who would warn them if the government began selling gold.
Ulysses S. Grant’s popularity plummeted when his presidency grew and scandals damaged his reputation. No one attacked closer to home than Black Friday – the collapse of the U.S. gold market on September 24, 1869. At the root of the scandal were two famous bastards, Jay Gould and Jim Fisk.
With their connections in place, Fisk and Gould began buying gold in September 1869, quickly pushing gold prices up by around 30%. However, when Grant and his advisers were wise with this situation, the government quickly sold $ 4 million in gold to complete it, effectively killing rising prices on September 24. When investors try hard to get rid of their overpriced gold, prices drop sharply, and many involved in fraud lose a lot of money. Fisk and Gould managed to avoid big losses because of their connections in the treasury, but what was known as Black Friday did not give them a big windfall – and significantly harmed the American economy.