March 26, 1812: The term “gerrymander" first appears in print.

The phenomenon dubbed “gerrymandering” by the Boston Gazette, in which district boundaries are redrawn (often to from an irregular shape) to grant a party an advantage in an election, was named for Elbridge Gerry, then governor of Massachusetts. In 1812, Gerry signed a piece of legislation that defined new state districts which favored his own party, the Democratic-Republicans, over the Federalist challengers; in the following election, the Democratic-Republicans retained their majority in the state senate, although Gerry lost his governorship. The famous cartoon that appeared in the Gazette, likely created by Elkanah Tisdale, depicted these new oddly-shaped districts as a reptilian creature called the “Gerry-Mander”, a combination of the governor’s name and “salamander”. 

By the mid-1800s, use of the word “Gerry-Mander”, which became “gerrymander”, soon spread beyond its original use as a reference to Elbridge Gerry’s salamander districts, to describe a technique that has been in use in American politics since the country’s founding and endures to this day. 

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  8. thelittlebirdthatkeptsomanywarm reblogged this from jamespmilner and added:
    Fascinating. Unfortunately also still a thing today and pretty sucky.
  9. jamespmilner reblogged this from wtfhistory and added:
    Huh! I never knew that. Historyyyyyyyy :)
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    March 26, 1812: The term “gerrymander” first appears in print. The phenomenon dubbed “gerrymandering” by the Boston...
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    Bugün Türkiye’de de yapılıyor hala. Siyasi ahlak seviyesi 200 yıl geriden geliyor.
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