→The Early Presidents
==The Early Presidents==
George Washington is not often thought of as a scandalous president, but even he could not get away from some rumors. This included having been accused of fathering children out of wedlock, something not acceptable to 18th-century norms. However, one documented scandal did great problems for him and may have contributed to his somewhat early death. The Jay Treaty was a treaty signed in 1795 between the United States Government and Great Britain, which helped establish a firmer peace between the two countries at the time. The treaty gave Britain favored trading status and this greatly angered France, the ally of the United States, and led to a split among US politicians, with Jefferson accusing Washington of treason. The Jeffersonian party saw this as a power grab by the Hamiltonians; in Washington's own farewell address he warned against party politics and the influence of political parties (Figure 1).
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.
Andrew Johnson is known as the president who came closest to being impeached. His relationship with Congress was so fractious that he even refused to carry out laws they had passed, resulting in continuous problems between the president and Congress. He also fired officials despite having been warned he could not and
repeatly created crises with congressional leaders. In fact, his violation of the Tenure of Office Act, which gave authority to Congress for removing certain office holders, is what led to impeachment. The scandal did not reflect well on Congress either, as it was seen by the wider public as an attempt by Republicans to assert their authority on the President rather than being a legitimate reason for the impeachment.
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.
[[File:Jay's-treaty.jpg|thumb|Figure 1. The Jay Treaty was perhaps the first scandal to directly affect a sitting President. ]]