The Whiskey Ring was amongst the leading scandals of Grant’s presidency. It was found that a large number of government officials were assimilating whiskey taxes. The scheming involved colossal bribes entailing distillers, government employees, internal tax revenue incharge, and rectifiers. The distillers paid huge amounts of bribes to the government officials who facilitated their tax evasion on the whiskey sold in the markets. Generally, the policy demanded to pay 70 cents per gallon for whiskey, a price that resulted from tax increases after Civil War.

The distillers, however, were paying only 35 cents per gallon and the paid taxes recorded in the papers were stamped 70 cents instead. This allowed the government employees to stash millions from the bribery scheme. In May 1857, the U.S. Secretary of the Treasury, Benjamin Bristow, brought this corruption to limelight and used secret investigation agents to uncover the scheme and break the powerful whiskey ring. The trial at Jefferson City, Missouri followed the investigation in October 1875 to convict almost 110 officials. The trial further resulted in the recovery of almost 3 million dollars in taxes and the indictment of 238 convicts.

President Ulysses S. Grant had ordered this investigation appointing General John Brooks Henderson, former U.S. Senator from Missouri, as the special lawyer representing the government. He later fired the General for highlighting Grant’s involvement in the scandal during the prosecutions. People started thinking that the scandal was actually the Republican government’s ploy to enhance their funds. The president’s secretary was also indicted for being a part of the corruption. Many believed the president was involved, and that tarnished his reputation. The scandal played a major role in the national reconstruction, which led to the end of Grant’s presidency as part of the Compromise of 1877.