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A stubborn man of deep principles, Andrew Jackson reacted violently to political or social injustice. Rumors surrounding the timing of his marriage devastated his wife, Rachel, who died after his election. But nothing tested Jackson's resolve quite like the Eaton Affair in which his Secretary of War's wife was labeled a "loose woman" and shunned in political circles. Jackson's support of the secretary and his wife began an imbroglio that became a scandal complete with media manipulation, quicksand coalitions, to rumors piled high. This account shows us that sex and sandal are hardly new to American politics.
About the Author:
John F. Marszalek is professor of history at Mississippi State University and the author of Court Martial: A Black Man in America and Sherman: A Soldier’s Passion for Order.
John F. Marszalek’s lively, carefully researched account reminds us that though the affair cannot be fully understood outside the social context of the Jacksonian Age, human nature hasn’t changed as much as we sometimes suppose.
Reading The Petticoat Affair . . . is like studying Mark Twain while going down the Mississippi River in a speedboat. So much has changed, so much hasn’t.
[The Petticoat Affair] is both an amusing and cautionary tale. Parallels between it and those of those of Paula Jones and Monica Lewinsky are far from exact, but all are useful reminders that political Washington is above all else a snake pit.