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The namesake of “gerrymandering” turns 269 today

Elbridge Gerry, born today in 1744, was an American Revolutionary leader, Declaration of Independence signer, Constitutional delegate and U.S. vice president, but he might be better known as the namesake for the term “gerrymandering.” 

After winning a term as governor of Massachusetts in 1810, Gerry “approved a controversial redistricting plan designed to give his party an advantage in the state.” Thus prompting his Federalist rivals to coin the term “gerrymandering” after a political cartoon of a new district that resembled a salamander.  

The controversy lost Gerry his re-election as governor, but he later accepted a position as vice president to James Madison. He died in office in November 1814. 

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