Jackson's Spoils System and Kitchen Cabinet

Updated: 4/21/2017
Jackson's Spoils System and Kitchen Cabinet
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Jacksonian Democracy Lesson Plans

Jacksonian Democracy: History and Significance

Lesson Plans by Richard Cleggett

Andrew “Old Hickory” Jackson, the seventh president of the United States, was a military veteran and a ruthless politician. He rose to power on a wave of populist appeal, and was central in shaping early America. He quashed threats of succession, forced the relocation of Native Americans, and dismantled the national bank. His presidency, like many others, is important for students to study in order to understand how the United States continued to be shaped and how the actions taken during Jackson's presidency still affect the country today.

Jacksonian Democracy

Storyboard Description

Jacksonian Democracy lesson plans - This storyboard details Jackson and his presidential cabinet, along with his more trusted advisors historically known as his 'kitchen cabinet'. By relying on advice and guidance from those he trusted more, Jackson created much tension within the executive branch during his two terms as president. During the Jacksonian era through controversy and turmoil, cabinet members came and went. Who Jackson truly relied on helped serve him not only as president, but also his image to the greater public.

Storyboard Text

  • John C. Calhoun, a Senator from South Carolina, will serve as Jackson's Vice President in 1828. However, strained relations will cause Calhoun to resign.
  • Martin van Buren will come to serve as Jackson's Vice President upon the resignation of Calhoun. He was considered a close political ally and friend of Jackson, whom Jackson consistently turned to as part of his 'kitchen cabinet'.
  • Jackson cannot be trusted!
  • Several individuals will serve as Jackson's Secretary of State, particularly after the Martin van Buren is promoted to Vice President. The Secretary of State deals primarily with foreign affairs, and is instrumental in any presidential cabinet.
  • Blair served as an independent adviser to Jackson. He established the Globe, a court journal in Washington, D.C. that helped manipulate media to the advantage of Jackson.
  • John Eaton served as Jackson's initial Secretary of War. However, Eaton was soon at odds with Jackson, particularly over what has now become the 'Eaton Affair' (a scandal involving a recently widowed woman). As Secretary of War, Eaton's duties included managing and controlling the United States defenses and armed forces.
  • Like Blair, Amos Kendall was a journalist and contributor to the Globe, a pro-Jacksonian newspaper. He was appointed fourth auditor of the Treasury, and is considered one of the strongest members of Jackson's 'kitchen cabinet'.
  • Several members will come and go as Secretary of the Treasury for Jackson. This position deals primarily with taxes, customs, and financial reports to Congress. Jackson, swapped the holder of this position several times, relying on advice and guidance from his kitchen cabinet.
  • Duff Green also served as an editor and backer of Jackson, through his paper was The United States Telegraph. A common theme for Jackson's kitchen cabinet, journalists and editors alike helped promote a favorable perspective to the public concerning Jackson's policy.