SAT Subject US History Practice Question 1074: Answer and Explanation

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Question: 1074

1. The term spoilsmen is most appropriately applied to

A. politicians who supported civil service reform.
B. miners who destroyed important natural areas.
C. generals who profited off of America's victory in the Spanish-American War.
D. urban "bosses" who received kickbacks from contracts between the government and private firms.
E. party loyalists who expected jobs in exchange for their political work.

Correct Answer: E


The term is derived from the war adage "to the victor goes the spoils." The implication is that the winner of an election is entitled to appoint loyal people to government positions. The spoilsmen were the benefactors of this system. Spoilsmen did not want to see the spoils system ended through civil service reform. There is no common term used to describe miners who cause ecological damage, nor is there evidence of substantial war profiteering following the Spanish-American War. Urban "bosses" and their kickbacks refers to some of the corrupt political machines that ran cities during the Gilded Age, such as Tammany Hall in New York run by "Boss" Tweed.

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