The combination of beauty, outspokenness, and familiarity with so many men in the boardinghouse led to gossip.
Rumors had been circulating that she and John were having an affair while her husband was at sea.
The society women of Washington were scandalized when her first husband committed suicide just nine months after she married him.
One wrote that Margaret's reputation had been destroyed.
The wives of other cabinet members refused to have anything to do with John's wife.
No respectable lady who wanted to protect her own reputation would invite her to social events or be seen chatting with her.
Most importantly, the vice president's wife spent most of her time in South Carolina avoiding her.
Emily Donelson, Jackson's niece, refused to have any more contact with her.
Women were not allowed to vote or hold office, but they still played a role in politics.
One local society woman said that the ladies had as much ambition and party spirit as the male politicians.
They paid attention to the rules that governed their interactions.
President Jackson blamed Henry Clay for the attacks.
He thought that Washington women and his new cabinet started the gossip.
Jackson claimed that he didn't come to make a cabinet for the ladies of this place, but rather had live vermin on his back.
He decided that it was necessary to destroy the Vice President because of his ambition, and put him out of the cabinet.
Jackson was angry because he had just been through a scandal with his late wife.
She had been insulted by leading politicians' wives because of the circumstances of her marriage.
Jackson believed that Rachel's death was caused by those attacks.
He saw the assaults on the Eatons as attacks on his authority.
In one of the most famous presidential meetings in American history, Jackson called his cabinet members to discuss what they saw as the bedrock of society: women's position as protectors of the nation's values.
The men of the cabinet debated Margaret's character.
Jackson presented evidence against her attackers.
The men attending the meeting were not swayed.
The scandal was resolved with the resignation of four members of the cabinet, including Margaret's husband.
The most characteristic struggle of his presidency was financial, despite his reputation as a military and political warrior.
He waged a war against the Bank of the United States.
The charter of the national bank that Congress created under Alexander Hamilton's financial plan expired in 1812.
Congress gave a new charter to the Second Bank of the United States five years later.
The bank was based in Philadelphia.
By requiring other banks to pay their debts in gold, it was supposed to prevent them from issuing too many paper notes.
The Bank of the United States was supposed to make a good profit for its private stockholders, like the Philadelphia banker Stephen Girard and the New York merchant John Jacob Astor.
Many Democrats and Republicans supported the new bank, but some still thought it was dangerous to the republic.
One of the skeptics was Andrew Jackson.
The Panic of 1819 was blamed on the bank by many of his supporters.
The national bank made the crisis worse by lending irresponsibly and then by using gold currency to save itself from the panic.
Jackson's supporters believed the bank corrupted politicians by giving them financial favors.
Jackson set his sights on the bank and its director after a few months in office.
Jackson became more and more adamant over the next three years as the bank's supporters fought to save it.
Jackson had once fought the Indians and the British and had declared a war to the death against the Bank, according to a visiting Frenchman.
The struggle was personal for Jackson.
The Bank of the United States' charter was not due for renewal for several years, but in 1832, Congress voted to reauthorize it.
The bill was vetoed by the president.
He explained that the charter didn't do enough to protect the bank from British stockholders.
Jackson wrote that the Bank of the United States had powers that were not granted in the Constitution.
The bank was a way for well- connected people to get richer at the expense of everyone else.
The president said that the rich and powerful often bend the acts of government to their will.
Jackson believed that a strictly limited government would treat people equally.
Edward Clay's depiction of the force that he depicted in this lithograph praised Jackson for ending the Second Bank of the United States.
Clay shows Nicholas Biddle as the devil running away from Jackson as the bank collapses around him.
The charter of the Bank of the United States would not be renewed, but it could still operate for several more years.
Jackson directed his cabinet to stop depositing federal funds in it in order to diminish its power.
The government would now do business with selected state banks.
Fierce controversy was set off by Jackson's bank veto.
The president's ideas were declared dangerous by opponents at a meeting.
They said that Jackson intended to place the honest earnings of the citizen at the disposal of the lazy, and that he would become a dictator.
The editor of a newspaper said that Jackson was trying to set the poor against the rich in order to take over as a military tyrant.
The Bank War gave Jackson's supporters a specific "democratic" idea to rally around.
The national bank's opposition came to define their beliefs.
The Bank War helped Jackson's political enemies organize.
Andrew Jackson supporters referred to themselves as Democrats.
The first modern party in the United States was built under the leadership of Martin Van Buren.
The Democratic Party had a centralized leadership structure and a consistent ideological program for all levels of government.
Jackson's enemies named themselves after the Whigs of the American Revolution, mocking him as "King Andrew the First".
Things looked good at first.
Between 1834 and 1836, a combination of high cotton prices, freely available foreign and domestic credit, and an influx of hard currency from Europe spurred a boom in the American economy.
The federal government's sales of western land promoted speculation and poorly regulated lending practices, creating a huge real estate bubble.
In just six years, the number of state-chartered banks grew from .
Between 1834 and 1836, the volume of paper banknotes per capita in circulation in the United States increased by 40 percent.
British capitalists were encouraged to make risky investments in America because of low interest rates.
The boom made banks more careless about the amount of hard currency they kept on hand.