Lewinsky Not the Only One: Peggy Eaton Rocked White House TooMarch 16th, 2009 - 11:10 pm ICT by GD
Looks like Monica Lewinsky was not the only woman to rock a Presidency and almost take it down. In the 1830s Margaret O’Neale Timberlake Eaton almost took down Andrew Jackson’s Presidency with the “Petticoat affair”.
Born in 1799 Margaret had grown up around politicians who were regular visitors to her family home. At 16 she married John Timberlake but a misfortune in her husband’s affairs had him go back to sea. She then began being escorted by John Henry Eaton. Soon news reached them that Timberlake had committed suicide and Margaret married Eaton, then a Senator from Tennessee. Her reputation preceded her and rumors were she had married Eaton because she was pregnant by him. More rumors followed and soon Margaret was given the cold shoulder by almost all politicians’ wives. Meanwhile, Andrew Jackson, always a gallant man who believed women were to be protected, felt the need to stand by his friends Mrs and Mr. Eaton. The first year of his Presidency was entirely devoted to protecting Mrs. Eaton’s reputation even as Washington continued to think of her as persona non grata.
Jackson continued his efforts and Washington continued to snub Margaret Eaton, who went by the name Peggy. Jackson was convinced that those who opposed him in the Congress were using Peggy Eaton’s closeness with him deliberately. Soon one member after another began resigning from the Cabinet. Jackson did not understand that by avoiding Peggy Eaton people were questioning her morality. His demand for absolute loyalty nearly brought down his government and made people raise fingers at his judgment.
Tags: 1830s, absolute loyalty, andrew jackson, closeness, cold shoulder, congress, eaton, fingers, gallant man, john henry eaton, judgment, misfortune, monica lewinsky, morality, petticoat affair, politicians, presidency, reputation, senator from tennessee, white house