The Gerry-Mander. A new species of Monster which appeared in Essex South District in Jan. 1812.
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- MHS 225th Anniversary
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[ This description is from the project: Who Counts? A Look at Voter Rights through Political Cartoons ]
The legend of the gerrymander came into being in 1812 at a meeting of Federalist political leaders and newspapermen in Boston. Complaints about the efforts of their Jeffersonian Republican opponents to rig state elections by altering voting districts led artist Elkanah Tisdale to add a head and wings to an outlined map of a new senatorial district in Essex County and name it the “gerrymander” after the leader of the Jeffersonians, Governor Elbridge Gerry. While a different map of Massachusetts that outlines the district in the context of Essex County shows that the district was not grotesquely misshapen by the standards of modern gerrymandering, the cartoon shocked the public and proved very effective.