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The Ballinger-Pinchot Controversy.

Ballinger Cartoon

According to William Howard Taft's attorney general, George Wickersham, the effects of the affair were tumultuous:

The 1910 Ballinger-Pinchot affair, which involved the illegal distribution of thirty-three federal government Alaskan coal land claims to the Guggenheim interests, culminated in a Congressional investigation and brought Alaska directly into the national headlines. Wickersham, surveying the fallout of the affair, determined that it destroyed the friendship between Theodore Roosevelt and President Taft; split the Republican party into two great factions; defeated President Taft for re-election in 1912; elected Woodrow Wilson President of the United States; and changed the course of history of our country.
Ballinger Cartoon

Simon Blonger, living at the time in Seattle, was a shareholder in the Alaskan coal, a member of the group mentioned, or a related group of claims. Richard Ballinger was Taft's Secretary of the Interior, and was believed to have used his position to advance the interests of the coal claimants.


Ironic Addendum: According to the Brandeis Law School Library:

(Ironically, surveys of the Cunningham lands later showed that the lands had little coal.)



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