The Black Friday Scandal originated from Jim Fisk, a railway tycoon and Jay Gould, a financier. They wanted to shoot up the price of gold by purchasing every available ounce on the market. Before initiating their scheme, the two masterminds knew they needed the U.S. government onboard. The started by reeling in influential personalities, such as financier Abel Corbin, who was president Ulysses S. Grant’s brother-in-law. Fisk and Gould succeeded in convincing a few government officials to stop selling gold. Their next move was to visit Grant and persuade him that ceasing the gold business entirely was in the country’s best interest.

Grant simply listened to the scheme and did not issue any response. Fisk and Gould devised a rumor that the president approved their plan to stop the sale of gold. It caused the value of gold to escalate to $162 per ounce. On September 24th, 1869, the market price of gold had become thirty percent higher than it was when Ulysses S. Grant began serving in March. It wasn’t long before Grant understood what was going on. He had fallen for biased guidance from his brother-in-law. That Friday, the president arranged for the government to sell gold worth $4 million.

Not only did Fisk and Gould’s plan immediately fall apart, but the economy also suffered. The rush of government gold caused its value to plummet in merely minutes. It created panic throughout the market and investors attempted to sell their shares as quickly as they could. However, for many investors, including Abel Corbin, it was too late, and their investments went down the drain. The constituents of the plan, Fisk and Gould, did not incur any significant financial damage. They escaped conveniently, leaving behind an impaired market and a tarnished reputation for the president.