the system or practice in which public offices with their emoluments and advantages are at the disposal of the victorious party for its own purposes.
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2023
How to use spoils system in a sentence
El Comandante used his Machiavellian bag of tricks to fuel a spoils system and political juggernaut that Venezuelans worshiped.
And therefore, the old spoils system remains securely in place despite the promises to change the culture of Washington.
He might even have been forgiven for his spoils system and unprecedented removals from office.Beacon Lights of History, Volume XII | John Lord
Many a modern politician could well ponder Sugers censure of the spoils system.How France Built Her Cathedrals | Elizabeth Boyle O'Reilly
Arthur also advocated legislation against the spoils system, and on January 16, 1883, signed the Civil Service law.Contemporary American History, 1877-1913 | Charles A. Beard
British Dictionary definitions for spoils system
mainly US the practice of filling appointive public offices with friends and supporters of the ruling political party: Compare merit system
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
Cultural definitions for spoils system
The practice of appointing applicants to public offices as a reward for their loyalty to the political party in power. The term comes from a statement by a senator in the 1830s: “To the victor belong the spoils.” Reform of the system commenced in the 1880s with the introduction of merit as the basis of appointment to office. (See James A. Garfield, machine politics, and patronage.)
The New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.