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October 25, 2014
CQ Press Encyclopedia of American Government

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Have You Heard

One of the earliest and most bizarre executive branch scandals centered on Peggy Eaton, the wife of President Andrew Jackson's secretary of war, John Eaton. The other cabinet wives refused to accept Mrs. Eaton into Washington society because of her allegedly promiscuous past. Although Jackson sided with the Eatons, the so-called petticoat wars escalated, disrupting cabinet affairs for two years. In 1831 Secretary of State Martin Van Buren resigned along with Eaton, permitting Jackson to shake up his cabinet. Jackson rewarded Van Buren in 1832 by dumping Vice President John C. Calhoun and replacing him with Van Buren, who won the presidency four years later.  more...

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