to the victor belong the spoils

to the victor belong the spoils

The winner gets everything, as in He not only won the tournament but ended up with numerous lucrative endorsements-to the victor belong the spoils . This expression alludes to the spoils system of American politics, whereby the winner of an election gives desirable jobs to party supporters. [First half of 1800s]
See also: belong, spoil, victor
References in periodicals archive ?
James Doherty, a New Hampshire Democrat, said, "It is my personal belief that to the victor belong the spoils and that Democrats should be holding most of these [WPA] positions so that we might strengthen our fences for the 1940 election.