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The Spoils System also known as the Patronage System was the name given to the practice of appointing political friends and firing enemies in any federal posts. See the fact file below for more information on the Spoils System or alternatively download our comprehensive worksheet pack to utilise within the classroom or home environment.
- The Spoils System policy was in-depthly adopted by President Andrew Jackson during his term (1829- 1837) although President Thomas Jefferson used the same concept of policy in a limited and minimal scale.
- The term “spoils” was tagged by Senator William L. Marcy as he defended the policy of President Jackson. After the Peggy Eaton affair, Jackson fired all his cabinet members as he established a new one.
- After the scandal, Jackson prefered to be surrounded with his loyal supporters and friends. He then started appointing loyalists to federal positions and took advice from unofficial advisers which was known as the Kitchen Cabinet.
The Spoils System Facts
- Jackson believed that loyalty was more important qualification than merit and competence. His Spoils System was implemented along with rotation in office, wherein old office holders were removed and replaced with political supporters.
- Future presidents, Martin Van Buren and James Buchanan plus Senator Marcy made a powerful political support to Jackson as he implemented the Spoils System in a national scale.
- During Jackson’s presidency, almost 1000 federal employees were fired and replaced with political partisans.
- The system brought the federal government with unity and participation because of their loyalty and support. Opposition viewed the practice as less democratic catering the needs of the party rather than the qualifications and competencies of the person.
- Henry Clay became Jackson’s number one critic. He challenged Senator Marcy for a debate. Marcy defended the Albany Regency with his remarkable speech “They see nothing wrong in the rule that to the victors belong the spoils.”
- It was practiced by the succeeding presidents such as President Abraham Lincoln who was annoyed when supporters went to the White House pleading for office positions during the civil war.
- In 1881, President James Garfield was shot by a disappointed office-seeker Charles Guiteau at the train station in Washington. Garfield survived the shooting for 11 weeks and died on September 11, 1881.
- The shooting led to the Pendleton Civil Service Reform Act of 1883 acknowledging the system of merit in hiring, promoting, and firing federal officers and employees.
- In 1871, the Civil Service Commission was established under President Ulysses S. Grant. It came to be known as Grantism.
- Critics said that the Spoils System led to corruption by federal officials. Bribes and special favors became lucrative during the future administrations. Political power was abused for the benefit of the ruling party. Public projects, franchises, contracts, cases, and taxes were influenced by political favors.
- Senator William Marcy later served under President James K. Polk as secretary of war and President Franklin Pierce’s secretary of state. Mount Marcy, the highest point in New York was named after him.
- Many countries do practice this kind of system to strengthen their government through their supporters and loyalists.
Spoils System Worksheets
This bundle contains 11 ready-to-use Spoils System Worksheets that are perfect for students who want to learn more about one of the the practice of appointing political friends and firing enemies in any federal posts, also known as the Patronage System.
Download includes the following worksheets
- Spoils System Facts
- U.S Presidents
- U.S Federal Government
- Jackson’s Kitchen Cabinet
- Clay v. Marcy
- All about CSC
- Connect the Dots
- The Spoils
- World’s Newsstand
- Cartoon Analysis
- Letter to the President
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Link will appear as Spoils System Facts & Worksheets: https://kidskonnect.com - KidsKonnect, September 3, 2017
Use With Any Curriculum
These worksheets have been specifically designed for use with any international curriculum. You can use these worksheets as-is, or edit them using Google Slides to make them more specific to your own student ability levels and curriculum standards.