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From Gerrymander to Bushmander – Map 1 of 5

[Elkanah Tisdale]. “The Gerry-mander, a new species of monster, which appeared in Essex South District in January last,” in Boston Gazette, March 26, 1812.  Courtesy American Antiquarian Society.
[Elkanah Tisdale]. “The Gerry-mander, a new species of monster, which appeared in Essex South District in January last,” in Boston Gazette, March 26, 1812. Courtesy American Antiquarian Society.
The concept of “gerrymandering” originated 200 years ago in Massachusetts with the redrawing of state senatorial districts based on the 1810 census. The word first appeared in print in this Boston newspaper. The accompanying cartoon-map characterized the new northwestern district of Essex County as a monster with claws, wings, and dragon head. The term was coined by combining the name of Governor Elbridge Gerry, an advocate of the proposed redistricting plan, with a mythical “salamander” whose shape the district was said to resemble. This word has become a standard term referring to the manipulation of election district boundaries to benefit a specific political party or interest group.

 
 
 
 

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