A political cartoon in the Boston Gazette in March of 1812 illustrated the appearance of a “new species of monster” — the Gerrymander.
The name was a portmanteau of Massachusetts Governor Elbridge Gerry, who signed the 1812 bill creating the state senate district; and a salamander, due to the new district’s unusually long and thin shape. Many thought Gerry redrew the district to favor his political party, and the illustrative name took hold.
The term remains a fixture in modern politics, and any voting district drawn for overt political advantage — especially ones that take on contorted shapes — are decried as gerrymandered.
– Carlisle Willard, Contributor