President Andrew Jackson and the “Kitchen Cabinet” (1829–1831)

When President Andrew Jackson took office in 1829, his official Cabinet was fractured by factional disputes, largely resulting from the fierce rivalry between Vice President John C. Calhoun and Secretary of State Martin Van Buren. The infighting was so pronounced that the Cabinet became virtually ineffectual, and Jackson stopped holding Cabinet meetings. He turned instead to an unofficial group of trusted friends and advisors, mocked in the rival press as the “Kitchen Cabinet.” Francis Preston Blair was a valued member.

The Kitchen Cabinet played an important role in the Jackson administration until 1831. That year, controversy within the official Cabinet provoked the resignation of Van Buren and Secretary of War John Eaton, which allowed Jackson to request the resignations of all of the remaining members. The Kitchen Cabinet gradually declined with the success of his next official Cabinet, but Jackson’s bond with Blair remained strong to the President’s death in 1842.