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An informal group of advisors to a prominent leader. For example, in the U.S. government, the president's Cabinet members must be confirmed in a formal process. A kitchen cabinet consists of an inner circle of cronies who have not been confirmed and do not necessarily have any official rank or duties.

First used in President Andrew Jackson's Presidency (1829). Andrew Jackson had issues. He had problems. In the early years of his presidency critical infighting and factionalism amongst his official cabinet was making him lightheaded and, at times, very angry. His vice president, John C. Calhoun and his secretary of state Martin Van Buren did not get along. At all. Other members of the official cabinet were taking sides. This became so much of a headache to Old Hickory that he stopped having cabinet meetings all together. Advil was not yet available as an alternative.

The only official cabinet members to join Jackson's new unofficial group of advisors, to be known as the Kitchen Cabinet, were VanBuren and secretary of war John H. Eaton. Jackson chose others based on his close association with them and their loyalty to his point of view. Other members included Amos Kendall, a newspaper editor from Kentucky, and William B. Lewis, a friend of Jackson's from his days in the military. Another member, Duff Green, who was also a newspaper editor, was replaced after showing partiality to Calhoun in the press. Jackson then brought in another Kentucky newspaper editor, Francis Blair, to start a new newspaper in Washington, the Washington Globe, that would become Jackson's mouthpiece. Blair then became a member of the kitchen cabinet as well.

Jackson felt comfortable with the kitchen cabinet for some time, but then they began their own infighting. Their issues were not about national policy. Their spat developed over the personal feelings of their wives. After Secretary Eaton took a new wife, who was a barmaid and not part of the political aristocracy, the other wives moved to ostracize her and not allow her to attend their various functions. VanBuren and Eaton resigned their official cabinet posts over the harangue. This, in effect, allowed Jackson to push for the resignations of the rest of his official cabinet and replace them with folks more partial to getting along... and supporting Jackson rather than Calhoun. This made the role of the kitchen cabinet less important, although many presidents since have had a form of kitchen cabinet since then.

Kitchen cabinet is also a term used to describe the cabinets located in your kitchen where you store food and other items.

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