Partisan Gerrymandering and the Construction of American Democracy
Free

Partisan Gerrymandering and the Construction of American Democracy

By Erik J. Engstrom
Free
Book Description

Engstrom evaluates redistricting plans and their electoral results from all states from 1789 through the 1960s, revealing that districting practices systematically affected the competitiveness of congressional elections; shaped the partisan composition of congressional delegations; and, on occasion, determined control of the House of Representatives. 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. Engstrom evaluates the abundant cross-sectional and temporal variation in redistricting plans and their electoral results from all the states, from 1789 through the 1960s, to identify the causes and consequences of partisan redistricting. His analysis reveals that districting practices across states and over time systematically affected the competitiveness of congressional elections; shaped the partisan composition of congressional delegations; and, on occasion, determined party control of the House of Representatives. “Partisan Gerrymandering and the Construction of American Democracy provides a rich look at the practice of gerrymandering. It is a nice mix of history and quantitative analysis. . . . It will be the definitive work on the subject for decades to come.” —Charles Stewart, MIT Erik J. Engstrom is Associate Professor of Political Science at the University of California, Davis. This title was made Open Access by libraries from around the world through Knowledge Unlatched.

Table of Contents
  • Contents
  • One. Gerrymandering and the Evolution of American Politics
  • Part I: The Early Republic, 1789–1840
    • Two. Districting and the Construction of Early American Democracy
    • Three. The Origins of Single-Member Districts
  • Part II: The Partisan Era, 1840–1900
    • Four. The Strategic Timing of Congressional Redistricting
    • Five. Stacking the States, Stacking the House: The Partisan Consequences of Congressional Redistricting
    • Six. Electoral Competition and Critical Elections
    • Seven. A Congress of Strangers: Gerrymandering and Legislative Turnover
    • Eight. The Partisan Impact of Malapportionment
  • Part III: Redistricting in the Candidate-Centered Era,1900–Present
    • Nine. From Turbulence to Stasis, 1900–1964
    • Ten. Gerrymandering and the Future of American Politics
  • Notes
  • References
  • Index
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