→The Early Presidents
Another early scandal involved a cabinet member of Andrew Jackson, John Eaton, who was Secretary of War. Eaton had just married Peggy O’Neale after his previous wife had died. O'Neale herself was a young widow and had soon married Eaton after her husband died, which led to many accusations that the two were conducting an affair prior to what was seen as a convenient death. The wives of Jackson's cabinet refused to socialize with O'Neale, leading to Jackson becoming angry with his cabinet and scolding them for not having their wives socialize with O'Neale. Eventually, Jackson's entire cabinet resigned, as they saw Eaton's relationship as scandalous for the moral standards of the day.
Perhaps among the biggest scandals of 19th century American presidents involved Grover Cleveland. In 1884, he ran for president as a clean, moral president and was labeled as "Grover the Good." The reality was he had fathered an illegitimate child years earlier. The woman in question was Maria Halpin, a widow. Cleveland quickly admitted to the affair once it was revealed and said he even took care of the child in question by finding a family to adopt the child, even though he stated he was not sure he was the father of the child and Halpin had been accused of being with other men. Cleveland said he was being gallant for taking responsibility for the child even if he was not sure he was the father. Halpin, on the other hand, accused him of having forced her to give up the child and had effectively bribed his way out of the issue by making the child disappear from political scrutiny. This scandal occurred mostly during the campaign and led to a very close election that Cleveland was able to win perhaps through some clever spinning by making it look like he was ultimately trying to help the child.