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The "Gerry-mander" as depicted by Gilbert Stuart and named by Benjamin Russell
Example: Illinois District 4 in 2004

Gerrymandering is a term that refers to purposeful rearranging of district lines in order to influence the outcome of an election or to favor one political party over another.[1] The first instance of gerrymandering in the United States occurred during the 1800 presidential election between John Adams and Thomas Jefferson.

  • The Boston Gazette ran a cartoon depicting the new district as a contorted animal and proclaiming the "Gerry-mander, a new species of monster."[2][3]

The result of the rearranging of districts helped Jefferson win the extremely close presidential race by a vote of the House of Representatives.[4]

The term is named after Elbridge Gerry.


  2. The End of Gerrymandering, Christian Whiton and Larry Greenfield, The Weekly Standard, 11/25/2008