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Partisan Gerrymandering and the Construction of American Democracy

Since the nation's founding, the strategic manipulation of congressional districts has influenced American politics and public policy

Erik J. Engstrom

Publisher: University of Michigan Press
Imprint: University of Michigan Press
Pages: 236
Subject: Political Science - Political Process/Elections, Political Science - American Government/Legislative Branch, Political Science - Political Ideologies/Democracy
Print ISBN: 9780472036578
eBook ISBN: 9780472900015


Erik J. Engstrom offers a historical perspective on the effects of gerrymandering on elections and party control of the U.S. national legislature. Aside from the requirements that districts be continuous and, after 1842, that each select only one representative, there were few restrictions on congressional districting. Unrestrained, state legislators drew and redrew districts to suit their own partisan agendas. With the rise of the 'one-person, one-vote' doctrine and the implementation of the Voting Rights Act of 1965, however, redistricting became subject to court oversight.


"Decennial redistricting, equal population, majority-minority districting, have transformed contemporary redistricting, but a look to the past, as deftly analyzed by Engstrom, better informs us of how altering voting boundaries impacts politics."
--Political Science Quarterly