spoils system

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Andrew Jackson (1767—1845) American general and Democratic statesman, 7th President of the US 1829–37



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In US politics, the convention whereby a victorious political party rewards its supporters with public appointments. The term was coined by Senator William Marcy of New York in 1832, in connection with appointments made by President Andrew Jackson, who replaced 20% of federal office-holders by his political supporters during his two terms. A US President or state governor has considerable patronage at his disposal. After the American Civil War attempts were made to reduce patronage in the Civil Service, for example by the Pendleton Act (1883), which created the Civil Service Commission. The term “spoils system” is also used to refer to the award of contracts, especially defence contracts, to a state in return for the support of its representatives for presidential policies in Congress, and the granting of public contracts to party contributors on favourable terms.

Subjects: World History.

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