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Grover Cleveland (1837-1897) | The Maria Halpin Scandal

Grover Cleveland (1837-1897) | The Maria Halpin Scandal

Top 7 in Top 8 Shocking Presidential Scandals in American History

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The Landmark History of the American People: Chapter 8

Grover Cleveland (1837-1897) & The Maria Halpin Scandal

  • 22 and 24th President of the United States
  • Term: 1885 - 1889, 1893-1897
  • Scandals in 1874

Throughout the history of the United States, there have been numerous presidents connected to the sexual scandal, including Warren G. Harding, JFK, and Clinton, to mention a few. However, The actions of President Grover Cleveland rank severely above those of any of his fellow Presidents and have been dubbed "the most despicable sex scandal in American political history."

What happened?

In the past, Cleveland had an illegitimate child with a widow named Maria Halpin. It wouldn't be such a big deal if people didn't find out the story behind it. In Maria's affidavit, their child was not conceived through consensual sex, which means that Maria was sexually assaulted by the 22nd president of the United States. That attack left Maria pregnant. Even more horrifying, after the baby was born, Cleveland forcibly took his child with Maria to an orphanage. The poor mother was then forced into an insane asylum. 

After the incident was revealed, Cleveland and his party counterattacked by smearing Maria. They portrayed Maria as a drunken whore, having sex with many other men, and Cleveland as just a respectable gentleman who was responsible for the child. Surprisingly, he was successful with this campaign and went on to win a close election.

Consequences

As mentioned, despite the scandal, Cleveland was still able to maintain a successful political career. He went on to serve as Governor of New York and was eventually elected as President of the United States in 1884. However, the scandal resurfaced during his presidential campaign, with opponents using it to tarnish his image and undermine his candidacy. Additionally, this one of the top 8 shocking presidential scandals in American history still highlighted the personal flaws of a president and raised concerns about his integrity and treatment of women.


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