Andrew Jackson and His Tennessee Lieutenants: A Study in Political Culture

By Lorman A. Ratner | Go to book overview

having abandoned "the principles of democracy" and he attributed his actions to a character flaw--"a desire to please those in power." 9 Eaton's actions were for Jackson another example of human weakness, a family tragedy more than a political setback, illustrating once again that Jackson could never separate his political life from his personal life. It would seem that neither could John Henry Eaton. The Eaton-Jackson relationship demonstrated as well as anything the strength and weakness of employing the culture of personal honor and character as the criteria for judging how politics could and should work. Honor and character were powerful cement, but the cement was strong only as long as each participant believed the others maintained the code. Once the relationship was perceived to have been broken, nothing remained to hold the participants together.


NOTES
1.
John Spencer Bassett, Correspondence of Andrew Jackson ( Washington, DC: Carnegie Institute of Washington, 1926), vol. 4, 275.
2.
Bassett, Correspondence, vol. 6, 112.
3.
Details regarding Eaton's life are drawn from Gabriel L. Lowe Jr., "The Early Public Career of John Henry Eaton" (unpublished master's thesis, Nashville, TN: Vanderbilt University, 1951) and a brief sketch in Allen Johnson and Dumas Malone eds., The Dictionary of American Biography ( New York: Charles Scribner's Sons, 1930), vol. 5.
4.
John Reid and John Henry Eaton, The Life of Andrew Jackson ( Tuscaloosa: University of Alabama Press, 1974).
5.
Reid and Eaton, Jackson, 397.
6.
John H. Eaton, "Candid Appeal to the America Public in Reply to Messrs. Ingham, Branch and Berrien on the Dissolution of the Late Cabinet" (published in The Washington Globe, Washington, DC, 1831).
7.
Eaton, "Candid Appeal."
8.
Bassett, Correspondence, vol. 6, 112.
9.
Bassett, Correspondence, vol. 6, 113.

-90-

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