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Black Friday – Aftermath

March 8, 2017

James Fisk and Jay Gould were never prosecuted.  Although the leader of the Congressional investigation believed Gould was the main culprit, he also believed there was an even bigger villain, monetary inflation.  He had already said as much in a major speech given in Congress on May 15, 1868.  That was more than sixteen months before Black Friday!  The Congressman was no psychic.  He had merely looked at the past and made a projection for the future.  One of the topic headings in that 1868 speech was “Depreciated Currency Stimulates Speculation and Overtrading.”  Fisk and Gould were sinners for sure, but they had been tempted by the unintended consequences of bad public policy.

President Grant was exonerated by the Congressional investigation.  He ran for re-election in 1872 and won by an even larger margin.  Fisk was murdered in 1872 by a former business partner.  In 1873 Gould fell for the scheme of an impostor who then fled to Canada.  When Gould and his associates attempted to kidnap the impostor, they inadvertently caused an international incident.

Grant retired from office on March 4, 1877.  He did not run for a third term, at least not this time.  The Congressman who had led the Black Friday investigation was placed on the Electoral Commission that resolved the disputed 1876 election.

In 1880 Grant’s friends unsuccessfully tried to nominate him for a third term.  One more time the Congressman was called upon to render his services, this time as the compromise candidate.  In a close general election James Garfield, the compromise candidate who had been nominated instead of Grant, became the 20th President.

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