Post Office and Spoils System

Jackson took it to a new level by institutionalizing postal patronage and making it the financial engine of America’s two-party system. For nearly a century and a half, the government would effectively underwrite much of the country’s politics by enabling the camp that won the White House to reward tens of thousands of its supporters with postal jobs (although, as Lincoln would later observe, there were always too many pigs for the tits). The spoils system’s political impact was amplified by the fact that many of the postmasters appointed were the editors of their local newspapers, who were thus rewarded for their partisan electioneering in print. These new officials were supposed to quit journalism while in office, but they had the consolations of a federal position, the franking privilege, exemption from military and jury service, and insider access to lucrative government publishing jobs.