Jackson's Kitchen Cabinet

Breadcrumb U.S. Presidents Andrew Jackson Andrew Jackson: Impact and Legacy Andrew Jackson left a permanent imprint upon American politics and the presidency. Within eight years, he melded the amorphous coalition of personal followers who had elected him into the country’s most durable and successful political party, an electoral machine whose organization and discipline would serve as a model for all others. At the same time, his controversial conduct in office galvanized opponents to organize the Whig party. The Democratic party was Jackson’s child; the national two-party system was his legacy. Jackson’s drive for party organization was spurred by his own difficulties with Congress. Unlike other famously strong Presidents, Jackson defined himself not by enacting a legislative program but by thwarting one. In eight years, Congress passed only one major law, the Indian Removal Act of 1830, at his behest. During this time Jackson vetoed twelve bills, more than his six predecessors combined. One of these was the first “pocket veto” in American history. The Maysville Road and Bank vetoes stood as enduring statements of his political philosophy. Jackson strengthened himself against Congress by forging direct links with the voters. His official messages, though delivered to Congress, spoke in plain and powerful language to the people at large. Reversing a tradition of executive deference to legislative supremacy, Jackson boldly cast himself as the people’s tribune, their sole defender against special interests and their minions in Congress. In other ways, too, Jackson expanded the scope of presidential authority. He dominated his cabinet, forcing out members who would not execute his commands. In two terms he went through four secretaries of state and five secretaries of the treasury. Holding his official subordinates at arm’s length, Jackson devised and implemented his policies through a private coterie of advisers and publicists known as the “Kitchen Cabinet.” His bold initiatives and domineering style caused opponents to call him King Andrew, and to take the name of Whigs to signify their opposition to executive tyranny. Jackson was no deep thinker, but his matured policy positions did bespeak a coherent political philosophy. Like Jefferson, he believed republican government should be simple, frugal, and accessible. He cherished the extinction of the national debt during his administration as a personal triumph. Believing that social cleavages and inequities were fostered rather than ameliorated by governmental intervention, he embraced laissez-faire as the policy most conducive to economic equality and political liberty. Jackson was both a fiery patriot and a strident partisan. Regarding the national union as indivisible and perpetual, he denounced nullification and secession while reproving policies like the tariff which fostered sectional divisiveness. His aggressive Indian removal policy and his espousal of cheaper western land prices reflected his nationalism’s grounding in the southwestern frontier. Jackson’s powerful personality played an instrumental role in his presidency. He indulged in violent hatreds, and the extent to which his political positions reflected mere personal animus is still debated. Jackson demonized many of those who crossed him, including John C. Calhoun, Henry Clay, Bank of the United States president Nicholas Biddle, and Cherokee Indian chief John Ross. Jackson’s own character polarized contemporaries and continues to divide historians. Some praise his strength and audacity; others see him as vengeful and self-obsessed. To admirers he stands as a shining symbol of American accomplishment, the ultimate individualist and democrat. To detractors he appears an incipient tyrant, the closest we have yet come to an American Caesar.
jackson's kitchen cabinet 1

Jackson's Kitchen Cabinet

Andrew Jackson left a permanent imprint upon American politics and the presidency. Within eight years, he melded the amorphous coalition of personal followers who had elected him into the country’s most durable and successful political party, an electoral machine whose organization and discipline would serve as a model for all others. At the same time, his controversial conduct in office galvanized opponents to organize the Whig party. The Democratic party was Jackson’s child; the national two-party system was his legacy. Jackson’s drive for party organization was spurred by his own difficulties with Congress. Unlike other famously strong Presidents, Jackson defined himself not by enacting a legislative program but by thwarting one. In eight years, Congress passed only one major law, the Indian Removal Act of 1830, at his behest. During this time Jackson vetoed twelve bills, more than his six predecessors combined. One of these was the first “pocket veto” in American history. The Maysville Road and Bank vetoes stood as enduring statements of his political philosophy. Jackson strengthened himself against Congress by forging direct links with the voters. His official messages, though delivered to Congress, spoke in plain and powerful language to the people at large. Reversing a tradition of executive deference to legislative supremacy, Jackson boldly cast himself as the people’s tribune, their sole defender against special interests and their minions in Congress. In other ways, too, Jackson expanded the scope of presidential authority. He dominated his cabinet, forcing out members who would not execute his commands. In two terms he went through four secretaries of state and five secretaries of the treasury. Holding his official subordinates at arm’s length, Jackson devised and implemented his policies through a private coterie of advisers and publicists known as the “Kitchen Cabinet.” His bold initiatives and domineering style caused opponents to call him King Andrew, and to take the name of Whigs to signify their opposition to executive tyranny. Jackson was no deep thinker, but his matured policy positions did bespeak a coherent political philosophy. Like Jefferson, he believed republican government should be simple, frugal, and accessible. He cherished the extinction of the national debt during his administration as a personal triumph. Believing that social cleavages and inequities were fostered rather than ameliorated by governmental intervention, he embraced laissez-faire as the policy most conducive to economic equality and political liberty. Jackson was both a fiery patriot and a strident partisan. Regarding the national union as indivisible and perpetual, he denounced nullification and secession while reproving policies like the tariff which fostered sectional divisiveness. His aggressive Indian removal policy and his espousal of cheaper western land prices reflected his nationalism’s grounding in the southwestern frontier. Jackson’s powerful personality played an instrumental role in his presidency. He indulged in violent hatreds, and the extent to which his political positions reflected mere personal animus is still debated. Jackson demonized many of those who crossed him, including John C. Calhoun, Henry Clay, Bank of the United States president Nicholas Biddle, and Cherokee Indian chief John Ross. Jackson’s own character polarized contemporaries and continues to divide historians. Some praise his strength and audacity; others see him as vengeful and self-obsessed. To admirers he stands as a shining symbol of American accomplishment, the ultimate individualist and democrat. To detractors he appears an incipient tyrant, the closest we have yet come to an American Caesar.
jackson's kitchen cabinet 2

Jackson's Kitchen Cabinet

Kitchen Cabinet History for kidsThe Kitchen Cabinet history revolved around the scandal known as the Petticoat affair or the Peggy Eaton affair. Peggy Eaton had married John Eaton, the Secretary of War. The marriage, and the morals of Peggy Eaton, were highly criticized by the highest society in Washington D.C. including the Cabinet social circle and even his niece and First Lady Emily Donelson. Andrew Jackson supported the Eaton’s and was furious at the gossip and the bad publicity which had become a liability for the Democrats. The President asked for the resignations of his disloyal cabinet, including that of his vice president John C. Calhoun. Secretary of State, Martin Van Buren, emerged unscathed, he was the only unmarried cabinet member and was not involved in the scandal. Why did Jackson have a Kitchen Cabinet?Andrew Jackson had had enough of the vicious tongues in Washington. His recently deceased wife, Rachel Donelson Jackson, had also suffered due to the spiteful, wagging tongues of Washington society had accused her of adultery and bigamy. He abandoned official cabinet meetings and used the heads of departments solely to execute their departmental duties. Instead, he sought the advice of old personal friends from Tennessee and loyal newspaper editors. Andrew Jackson believed that only the President could be trusted to stand for the will of the working people against the upper-class Congress and used his power of veto more often than all six previous Presidents combined. Their meetings were informal, they smoked their pipes together and formed his “kitchen cabinet.” He rarely called an official cabinet meeting and when he did it was usually to tell the members what he had decided to do. The official cabinet was given the nickname of the “parlor cabinet”. Who made up Jackson’s Kitchen Cabinet?Andrew Jackson’s Kitchen Cabinet consisted of his loyal friends, journalists and newspaper editors. The term “Kitchen Cabinet” might sound cozy and friendly but its members were all extremely powerful and clever men. The names of the most influential members of the Kitchen Cabinet were:Martin Van Buren who had supported Jackson through the Peggy Eaton scandalJohn Eaton who had been the subject of the gossipFrancis Preston Blair, editor of the Washington GlobeDuff Green, editor of the highly influent United States Telegraph (he later supported Calhoun)Amos Kendall a lawyer, journalist and editor-in-chief of the Argus of Western AmericaImportant William Berkeley Lewis who had served as quartermaster under General Andrew JacksonIsaac Hill a politician and editor of the New Hampshire Patriot newspaperGeneral Roger B. Taney, politician, Attorney General and Chief Justice

Jackson's Kitchen Cabinet

Jackson's Kitchen Cabinet
Jackson's Kitchen Cabinet