She is best floride PDF for her leading role in the Petticoat affair, which occurred while her husband was serving as Vice President. She was born Floride Bonneau Colhoun to Floride Bonneau and U.
She was a niece of Rebecca Colhoun Pickens, wife of Andrew Pickens. On January 8, 1811, she married John C. In 1817, she accompanied her husband to Washington upon his appointment as Secretary of War. Eight years later in 1825, she became Second Lady of the United States, following her husband’s election as Vice President, serving in that role until 1832.
During her tenure as Second Lady, she took the lead in a social war against Margaret O’Neill Eaton, the wife of Secretary of War John Eaton, in what became known as the Petticoat affair. Calhoun had organized a coalition among the wives of Jackson cabinet members against Peggy Eaton, who Calhoun believed had committed adultery and was acting irresponsibly in Washington. She thrust herself into the world in a manner inappropriate for woman. Accept her, and society was in danger of disruption. Accept this uncouth, impure, forward, worldly woman, and the wall of virtue and morality would be breached and society would have no further defenses against the forces of frightening change. According to historian David Howe, the revolt against Eaton and the President led by Floride Calhoun influenced the emergence of feminism. The Cabinet wives insisted that the interests and honor of all women were at stake.