While Webster 1913 got the definition of "Gerrymander" correct, he was slightly vague on the history.

Elbridge Gerry, a Democrat, was Governor of Massachusetts in 1812 and had a Democratic legislature serving with him. In order to secure increased representation in the State Senate, they redistributed the state, dividing it up so that the Federalist minority would not be able to elect a true percentage of the legislature. As a result of this, a district in Essex County was formed with a very irregular outline. Benjamin Russell, editor of the Columbian Centinel,"[sic] hung a map of the new district in his office. Gilbert Stuart, a visiting painter, saw this map and noticed the peculiar outline of the district in Essex County; he added a head, wings, and claws to it. Gilbert exclaimed "This will do for a salamander." "No," said Russell, "a Gerrymander." Thus, to "redistribute a state to get the maximum possible representation for one party at the expense of the other" became known as "Gerrymandering".

The governor was quite insulted by the name, and voiced his comments. Within a few days, the editor stopped using the phrase. However, Gerry only held office for another 5 months. The day after Gerry stepped down, Russell had the phrase right back on the front page.

Source: My AP English notes. Node your homework!
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