The Spoils System The spoils system, a term usually used derisively, identifies the practice of elected officials who appoint loyal members of their own party to public office. President Jackson was accused of initiating the spoils system when he was elected to the presidency in 1828. the name supposedly derived from a speech by Senator William Learned Marcy in which he stated, “to the victor belong the spoils”. spoils system Is a pracuce of glvlng appointive offices to Its voters as a reward for working toward its victory, and as an incentive to keep working for the party.

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On a national scale, the spoils system was Inaugurated with the development of two political parties, the Federalists and the Democratic Republicans, and was used by the earliest Presidents, particularly Thomas Jefferson. The system soon became entrenched in state politics and was practiced more extensively on a national scale during the administration of Andrew Jackson. who declared that the federal government would be bettered by having civil servants rotate in office. He replaced Incumbent officeholders with members of his own party. Nevertheless, during

Jackson’s eight years in office not more than one fifth of officeholders were replaced. The dispensation of offices by strict party allegiance was followed in succeeding years and critical opposition grew. The corruption and inefficiency bred by the system reached staggering proportions in the administration of Ulysses S. Grant, and reacuon against this helped bring about clvll service reform, which was inaugurated by creation of the Civil Service Commission in 1871. The spoils system has, however, continued for many federal offices and Is even more prevalent In state and local governments.

In 1881, Cleveland began one of the most rapid and dramatic ascents to national prominence of any American politician. He was elected mayor of Buffalo and soon gained the nickname, “veto mayor. ” His practice of closely studying appropriation measures and vetoing those he felt to be corrupt or wasteful made him a hugely popular figure. In 1882, Cleveland was nominated for governor of New York State and was a surprising winner, given that he lacked supportfrom the Democratic power brokers at Tammany Hall. His continued use of the veto made him immensely popular In the state and also generated his national reputation.

Page 2 The spoils system Essay

The so-called spoils system which called for the President to make appointments to a large number of government Jobs could lead to greatturmoil when the administration changed parties. The old appointees might still be loyal to the previous president and maybe would not obey the new president However, they had experience and a large turnover would impair their office’s ability to function. It was very difficult for the president to wisely fill so many positions It was tempting to just 1 OF2 appoint supporters and was tempting tor people to participate in a campaign in order to get a Job if it was successful.

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