Posted by ESC on June 17, 2004
In Reply to: To The Victor.. posted by Henry on June 17, 2004
: : Which phrase is correct?
: : "To the victor goes the spoils"
: : or
: : "To the victor go the spoils?"
: : Thanks!
: To the victor go the spoils.
: It's clear if you re-arrange the sentence;
: The spoils go to the victor.
: During a Congressional debate in 1831 a New York senator, William L. Marcy, used the phrase "to the victor belong the spoils." This saying accurately described the spoils system of appointing government workers. Each time a new administration came into power thousands of public servants were discharged and members of the victorious political party took over their jobs.
"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." From "Random House Dictionary of Popular Proverbs and Sayings" by Gregory Y. Titelman.