The Petticoat Affair: Manners, Mutiny and Sex in Andrew Jackson's White House

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Overview

In The Petticoat Affair, prize-winning historian John F. Marszalek offers the first in--depth investigation of the earliest -- and perhaps greatest -- political sex scandal in American history. During Andrew Jackson's first term in office, Margaret Eaton, the wife of Secretary of State John Henry Eaton, was branded a "loose woman" for her unconventional public life. The brash, outgoing, and beautiful daughter of a Washington innkeeper, Margaret had socialized with her father's guests and married Eaton very soon after the death of her first husband, shocking genteel society. Jackson saw attacks on Eaton as part of a conspiracy to topple his administration, and his strong defense of her character dominated the first two years of his term, and led to the resignation of his entire cabinet.

LSU Press

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Editorial Reviews

Boston Globe
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.
Washington Post
[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.
USA Today
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.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780807126349
  • Publisher: Louisiana State University Press
  • Publication date: 10/28/2000
  • Edition description: LOUISIANA
  • Pages: 296
  • Product dimensions: 5.90 (w) x 9.10 (h) x 1.00 (d)

Meet 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.

LSU Press

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