Who Benefited From Andrew Jackson's Spoils System?

The people who benefited the most from Andrew Jackson's spoils system were loyal political supporters of Jackson. The spoils system refers to the fact that Jackson gave hundreds of federal jobs to his supporters in the first months of his presidency. In all, Jackson replaced over 900 federal employees. The term "spoils system" is derived from the statement "to the victor belong the spoils," spoken by William Marcy.

The postal system was most affected by Jackson's spoils system. A total of 423 post masters were replaced by political supporters, many of whom had no relevant training for the positions.

Jackson was not the only president to use the spoils system. Many presidents who succeeded him used the system, but to a lesser extent. However, when James A. Garfield was assassinated by a political supporter who had been promised a federal job but did not receive one, the call for reform intensified.

The Pendleton Act was passed in 1883. Departing presidents could apply the Pendleton Act to protect the current federal jobs of political supporters. In addition, a bipartisan Civil Service Commission was established to oversee the hiring of federal employees. Only a small percentage of federal jobs were monitored by the Civil Service Commission initially, but by 1900 the spoils system was largely eliminated.