The Eaton affair was a major source of controversy during the first term of the Jackson presidency. Many wives of cabinet members shunned Peggy Eaton, the wife of John Eaton, the secretary of war. This enraged President Jackson, who may have identified with Eaton because his deceased wife, Rachel, had been the victim of scurrilous verbal assaults in newspapers. Van Buren cagily befriended Peggy Eaton and gained Jackson’s greater trust. Van Buren was able to convince Jackson that he, not the others in his cabinet, was the president’s true supporter and ally.