William L. Marcy

Our school's name came from William L. Marcy who was a national politician active in the 1820's - 1850's. He is best remembered for saying "To the victor belong the spoils of the enemy" in 1832. [It has been changed over time to, "To the victor go the spoils" ].

The American statesman William Learned Marcy, b. Southbrige, Mass. (then Sturbrige), Dec.12, 1786, d. July 4.1857, served in the cabinets of U.S.A. presidents James K. Polk and Franklin Pierce. He graduated from Brown University in 1808 and soon began practicing law in Troy, N.Y. Marcy moved to Albany in 1823. As a member of Martin Van Buren's political machine, the Albany Regency, he served as New York comptroller (1823-1829), state supreme court justice (1829-1831), U.S. senator (1831-1832), and governor (1833-1839). In the 1840s, however, he sided with the conservative Hunker Democratic faction, and Polk's appointment of Marcy as secretary of war in 1845 displeased Van Buren and the antislavery Barnburners. Four years in Polk's cabinet established him as a national leader of the Democratic party. His most conspicuous service was as Pierce's secretary of state (1853-1857). Marcy's accomplishments included the GADSDEN PURCHASE from Mexico and the Reciprocity Treaty (1854) with Great Britain.