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The Star Route Scandal involved the bribery and corruption of Federal postal officials, who issued highly lucrative postal delivery contracts to private contractors.
Below are several interesting facts with more information about this important event, which occurred during the presidency of the 21st President of the United States of America or alternatively download our comprehensive worksheet pack to utilise within the classroom or home environment.
- Chester Arthur was the 21st American President who sat in office from September 19, 1881 to March 4, 1885. One of the most important events of his presidency were the trials which were a result of the Star Route Scandal.
- The Star Route Scandal emerged during the presidencies of Grant, Hayes, Garfield and Chester A. Arthur.
- By the mid 1800’s most of the mail in the United States was transported by steamboats and railroads, however these methods of transportation had yet to reach the isolated regions of the new territories in the West and South West. The federal government therefore offered lucrative contracts to private carriers to deliver the post via horse, wagon or stagecoach.
- This scandal dealt with corruption in the postal service. At the time, private organizations were handling the postal routes out west. They would give postal officials a low bid, but when the officials presented these bids to Congress they would ask for higher payments, thus obviously making a substantial profit.
- A Star Route was the name given to a postal delivery route serviced by a private contractor.
- The history of the Star Route contractors began on March 3, 1845. This legislation established a new mail service that called for private contractors to carry the mail “with celerity, certainty, and security”. Contracts for the mail service were awarded to the lowest bidders. These became known as “celerity, certainty and security” bids and postal clerks shortened the phrase to three asterisks or three stars (***). The mail delivery contract bids became known as star bids, and the routes became known as Star Routes.
- By 1880, there were nearly 10,000 star routes, costing the federal government nearly $6 million a year. The enormous profits involved in landing these contracts led to fraud, bribery, collusion and corruption, implicating the contractors, postal officials, government officials and politicians.
- The extent of the Star Route Scandal would rock the nation, which was already reeling from the scandals caused by the Spoils System and allegations of Grantism, involving political corruption and greed in government.
- Typically, the Star Route contracts were awarded for four-year terms and often bribes were exchanged in return for contracts. There were also fictitious delivery routes and unnecessary expenditures – claims for improvements to non-existent or scarcely used routes, and illegally increasing mail rates.
- Some contractors took the money but didn’t deliver the mail. Some also colluded to submit low “straw” bids or ridiculously high bids wherein default bidding resulted in highly lucrative contracts. The fees charged were usually exorbitant too.
- The Star Route Scandal investigations took place in 1872 and 1876 under President Grant, and the frauds were temporarily halted, but they reemerged during the subsequent Hayes and Garfield administrations, sparking more investigations. A federal trial and prosecution took place in 1882, urged by President Chester Arthur, which was finally able to shut down the postal ring. The investigations led to 25 indictments and although the trials revealed frauds on nearly 100 Star routes, no convictions were obtained. The Star Route scandal had defrauded the Post Office of $4,000,000.
Star Route Scandal Worksheets
This bundle contains 11 ready-to-use Star Route Scandal Worksheets that are perfect for students who want to learn more about The Star Route Scandal which involved the bribery and corruption of Federal postal officials, who issued highly lucrative postal delivery contracts to private contractors.
Download includes the following worksheets
- Star Route Scandal Facts
- Fill in the Blanks
- Where It All Began
- Fact or Bluff
- Word Search
- Idea Tree
- Star Route Jumble
- What Am I?
- What went wrong?
- The End
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Link will appear as Star Route Scandal Facts & Worksheets: https://kidskonnect.com - KidsKonnect, August 23, 2017
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