Governor Elbridge Gerry & the Salamander

According to a New York Times article published May 22, "The Supreme Court struck down two North Carolina congressional districts on Monday, ruling that lawmakers had violated the Constitution by relying too heavily on race in drawing them, in a decision that could affect many voting maps, generally in the South."  The case was essentially about gerrymandering, something that goes back at least 200 years in the history of the United States.  

A gerrymander usually refers to a congressional district map that looks pretty crazy because the district is created in such a way to affect the outcome of an election.  The origin of the word goes back to the Massachusetts legislature during the term of governor Elbridge Gerry, when in 1812, one of the districts was redrawn in such a way that it ended up looking like a salamander.  The district was nicknamed "Gerrymander" and the term has been used every since.  

Want to learn more about gerrymandering and where the term comes from?  Check these resources out:  

Gerrymander (noun), from the Oxford English Dictionary.

Gerrymander (verb), from the Oxford English Dictionary.

Gerrymandering [Videorecording] / Green Film Company ; Produced by Dan O'Meara, Chris Romano ; Written, Produced and Directed by Jeff Reichert. 

Raban, Ofer. "Gerrymandering." Encyclopedia of the Supreme Court of the United States. Ed. David S. Tanenhaus. Vol. 2. Detroit: Macmillan Reference USA, 2008. 330-332.

"Gerrymandering." International Encyclopedia of the Social Sciences. Ed. William A. Darity, Jr. 2nd ed. Vol. 3. Detroit: Macmillan Reference USA, 2008. 308-310.

"Gerrymander." Gale Encyclopedia of American Law. Ed. Donna Batten. 3rd ed. Vol. 5. Detroit: Gale, 2010. 76-79.

Atkins, William Arthur. "Electoral Geography." Human Geography: People and the Environment. Ed. K. Lee Lerner, Brenda Wilmoth Lerner, and Sonia Benson. Vol. 1. Detroit: Gale, 2013. 353-355.

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Written by Frank on May 22, 2017


WRT on May 23, 2017


How about at least a 1 paragraph article ? Normally D.P.L. posts have an explanation.


Your point is well-taken!  I will certainly keep that in mind.  Thanks for commenting.