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Spoils system

Spoils system, use of appointments to public offices to reward supporters of a victorious political party. With the growth of a 2-party system in the United States, political patronage increased. It was Pres. Andrew Jackson's friend, Sen. William L. Marcy, who said in 1832 that “to the victor belong the spoils,” and the system soon operated on every political level. Reforms began with the creation of the Civil Service Commission in 1871, and the Pendleton Act of 1883, introducing competitive entrance examinations for public employees, marked the gradual introduction of a merit system.

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