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Peggy Eaton

A woman who had an affair with and married John Eaton three months before he took office as secretary of war. She was unaccepted within the higher society and became the gossip among the Cabinet. She was defended by President Jackson and Secretary of State Van Buren.

"kitchen cabinet:"

A term used by Jackson's opponents to describe how he kept unofficial advisers near for consulting, even after he dismissed over half from his Cabinet after the Eaton Affair

spoils system

System in which incoming political parties throw out former government workers and replace them with their own supporters. Jackson followed this procedure, but only replacing 20 percent of the officials throughout his entire term

Maysville Road Bill

Passed by Congress in 1830, authorized the government to buy stock in a road from Maysville to Lexington. The road lay within Kentucky to appear as a local goal, but was truly part of a larger scheme linking with the National Road. Jackson vetoed the bill as unconstitutional.

Webster-Hayne debate

Originally debate over the unsettled tracks of Western lands owned by the federal government. From the South, Hayne argued states had right to go against federal rule if it stepped out of its constitutional authority. Webster argued the Constitution created a Supreme Court with final jurisdiction on all questions of constitutionality.

Trail of Tears

In 1838, a trail followed by the Cherokees leading them westward to Oklahoma. The journey included cruelty of soldiers and scorn of white citizens.

Nullification Proclamation

President Jackson's characterization of the doctrine of nullification, calling it an "impractical absurdity" and describing how it is incompatible with the Union's ideals

Force Bill

Requested to Congress by Jackson, giving Jackson the authority to use the army to compel compliance with the federal law in South Carolina

Nicholas Biddle

President of the Bank of the United States, allowed it to prosper and grow, but wasn't trusted by Jackson. Wanted to recharter the Bank before the 1832 election, but was vetoed by Jackson.

Anti-Masonic Party

Party grew out of hostility towards Masonic order.The first 3rd party within a presidential campaign, first party to hold a national nominating convention, and first party to announce a platform. William Wirt became nominee.

"pet banks"

New secretary of Treasury, Roger Taney, took money from government accounts in the national bank, and deposited all new federal receipts into 23 state banks.

Distribution Act

Pressured by Henry Clay, the government distributed the surplus from selling western lands among the states as loans. Surplus was proportionately divided according to each state's representation in the two houses of Congress


A name linked to the patriots of the American Revolution; also used to describe the opponents of President Jackson's king-like demeanor. Whigs generally supported Henry Clay and his "American System"

Independent Treasury

President Van Buren's plan to keep government funds in its own vualts and do business entirely in hard money rather than keep them in depostits within shaky banks.

"log cabin and hard cider campaign"

Election of 1840, Whig General Harrison against Democrat Van Buren. Used symbols of cider and log cabin to depict Harrison as a simple man sprung from the people. Harrison won, with help from extreme Whig campaigning.

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