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Describe The Spoils System In Detail

Referencing Styles : MLA | Pages : 1

In the context of government and politics, spoils system is considered as the patronage system. This is one of the most significant practices, in which the political party provides government civil services to its supporters, friends and relatives after winning the election. This is the way, through which the political party provides its supporters with them reward in order to keep them motivated towards working for the party. This is totally opposite to that of the merit system, where employment opportunity is being given to the people in accordance with the merit and skills. The term Spoils System is basically used in the politics of the United States, in which the federal government was bestowed with the power of operating the system and thus providing employment opportunity to the people as per their own choice. The very term Spoils System had been derived from the New York Senator William L. Marcy’s "to the victor belong the spoils" which deals with the victory of Andrew Jackson in the election, which has happened in the year 1828. The meaning of the term “spoil” is benefits or goods acquired from the looser in election, military victory or competition. Practicing this system is very common in the nations, which are based on the tribal organizations.

During 1829, the transfer of power has been begun by the precedent of USA. With the first inauguration by Andrew Jackson's, the departure from the part has been made. In the era of Jackson administration, several unprecedented purges as reform or constructive turnover have been executed with the intension of creating more effective system in which the public employees will obey the chain of command as executed by the government. Post office was one of the major organizations, which have experienced hardest change within the federal government. It is imperative to note in this context that the post office was being considered as the largest federal government which had more working professionals than that of the other departments. Due to this situation, more than 400 postmasters had been deprived for their position. During the last half of 1860, the people become highly demanding for reforming the civil service examination and thus provide accessing equal employment opportunity as per their merit and academic qualification. In the time of Mercy, spoils system was considered as the political appointments like ambassadorships which were being considered by the selected electorates. Several arguments related to spoils system had been aroused. It has been argued that spoil system is the very process of maintaining the active party by offering them with dedicated and loyal workers who can have occupational reward. Spoil system also ensures the fact that the ruling party controls loyal and cooperative employees. It had been claimed by the supporters of the system that this can result in more effective government due to the fact that the appointed officials will help the elected officials to implement robust policies and thereby fulfill their promises related to campaign.

On the contrary, it has also been observed that in the spoils system, jobs have been created entirely on the basis of the requirement of the party without assessing the capability and qualification of the employees. The activity of President Benjamin Harrison in changing more than 30000 postmasters had largely affected the government. This system had been generally invented by President Andrew Jackson, who had grabbed the office of US during March 1829. It had been portrayed by the supporters of Jackson that it is highly important to reform the federal government. On the other hand, the opponents of Jackson had held totally different outlook. According to them, the practice of Jackson is highly corrupted and had only implemented for the sake of political patronage. After the election of 1828, Jackson had taken necessary step in order to reform their government. Jackson was highly determined for the sake of changing the internal operation of the federal government after getting wide ranges of criticisms. He was highly suspicious regarding his political opponents.

After getting the office, he became highly dissatisfied with his predecessor, John Quincy Adams. It had been perceived by Jackson that his activities will be blocked. This is the reason for which Jackson along with his supporter had initiated change. However, the policy of Jackson to replace the federal employees was very badly criticized by his opponents. Still, the opponents were extremely powerless to fight against Jackson. The political ally of Jackson namely Martin Van Buren was bestowed with the power of creating new policy. Evidences are showing that due to Jackson’s policy more than 500 government officials had lost their job in the very first year of his presidency.

According to the newspaper report of 1829, the mass termination of the federal workers had really affected the Washington economy. This mass termination had also made it difficult for the merchants to sell the products or services. Thus, it can be said that mass termination had also posed a major threat for the corporate entities to run their business with utmost efficiency. The policy implemented by Jackson was highly controversial. During January 1832, the perennial enemy of Jackson namely Henry Clay became involved in the policy.  He assaulted the New York’s senator Marcy on the ground that the corrupted Jacksonian policy is basically derived from New York political machine and being applied in Washington. On the other hand, Marcy defended Clay by declaring that “They see nothing wrong in the rule that to the victors belong the spoils.” This phrase had become highly notorious. The supporter of Jackson had cited this quote as a major instance blatant corruption, from which the political supporters had accessed immense employment opportunity and gained several federal jobs. After Jackson, President Abraham Lincoln took the office. He too followed Jackson and keep on doling the federal jobs for the political officials.  It has been reported that the office-seekers, who came to white house for the job were mercilessly annoyed Lincoln for not reforming the civil war and providing employment opportunity to the political supporters.        

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