Martin Van Buren - The Jackson Cabinet

The Jackson Cabinet

On March 5, 1829, President Jackson appointed Van Buren Secretary of State, an office which probably had been assured to him before the election, and he resigned the governorship on March 12. He was succeeded in the governorship by his Lieutenant Governor, Enos T. Throop, a member of the regency. As Secretary of State, Van Buren took care to keep on good terms with the Kitchen Cabinet, the group of politicians who acted as Jackson's advisers, and did not oppose Jackson in the matter of removals from office but was not himself an active "spoilsman."

He won the lasting regard of Jackson by his courtesies to Peggy Eaton, wife of Secretary of War John H. Eaton, with whom the wives of the cabinet officers led by Vice President Calhoun's wife, Floride Calhoun had refused to associate in the Petticoat Affair. Aside from the Petticoat Affair, he skillfully avoided entanglement in the Jackson-Calhoun imbroglio.

No diplomatic questions of the first magnitude arose during Van Buren's service as secretary, but the settlement of long-standing claims against France was prepared and trade with the British West Indies colonies was opened. In the controversy with the Bank of the United States, he sided with Jackson. After the breach between Jackson and Calhoun, Van Buren was clearly the most prominent candidate for the vice-presidency.

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