June 28, 2018

Gerrymandering

"Gerrymandering" is a term used to describe a political practice of drawing district boundaries in an unnatural way to favor a political party chance of winning that district.

This term came about in Massachusetts in 1812 - when the Governor created a new district to help the Republican-controlled legislature stay in power. The weird shape district looked very weird and many people thought it looked like a salamander.

Gerrymander Site

Five Facts about GerryMander

  • The word gerrymander was used for the first time in the Boston Gazette on 26 March 1812 in reaction to a redrawing of Massachusetts state senate election districts under the then-governor Elbridge Gerry (1744-1814)
  • The term was originally written as "Gerry-mander"
  • Elbridge Gerry, was one of the signers of the Declaration of Independence. He is the only signer of the Declaration buried in the nation's capital.
  • Elbridge Gerry was the Vice President under President James Madison.
  • Elbridge Gerry was one of three people that refused to sign the U.S. Constitution at the Constitutional Convention (Edmund Randolph and George Mason of Virginia were the other two. Elbridge Gerry wanted more individual liberties in the constitution.
  • The earliest occurrence of Gerrymander was the districting of New York State Orange County to help Monroe over Madison on February 2, 1789. Madison ended up winning the County.

Gerrymander Sign

Near this site stood the home of state senator Isreal Thorndike, a merchant and privateer. During a visit here in 1812 by Governor Elbridge Gerry, an electoral district was oddly redrawn to provide an advantage to the party in office.

Shaped by political intent rather than any natural boundaries its appearance resembled a salamander. A frustrated member of the opposition party called it a gerrymander, a term still in use today.

The word gerrymander (originally written "Gerry-mander") was used for the first time in the Boston Gazette on 26 March 1812 in reaction to a redrawing of Massachusetts state senate election districts under the then-governor Elbridge Gerry (1744-1814)

Finding the Sign

The sign is located on a red/white building near Downtown Crossing. As you enter Arch Street from Summer Street if you look to your right you will see UDG restaurant. If you follow along the wall you will see the green sign against the white wall.

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