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.
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