To the victor...

Posted by ESC on October 27, 1999

In Reply to: To the victor goes the spoils posted by Julie Candau on October 27, 1999

: Does anyone know the origin and meaning of the
: phrase "to the victor goes the spoils"?

From Random House Dictionary of Popular Proverbs and Sayings by Gregory Y. Titelman: "To the victor belong the spoils. In a war or other contest, the winner gets the booty. The proverb originated in the United States and was first used in 1832 by Senator William Learned Marcy (1786-1857) of New York. 'The victor gets the spoils' and 'To the victor go the spoils' are variations of the proverb." Senator Marcy was quoted as saying, in 1832, "They (Democrats) see nothing wrong in the rule that to the victor belong the spoils of the enemy."