Partisan Gerrymandering and the Construction of American Democracy [book]

Erik Engstrom
2013 unpublished
In Partisan Gerrymandering and the Construction of American Democracy, Erik J. Engstrom offers an important, historically grounded perspective on the stakes of congressional redistricting by evaluating the impact of gerrymandering on elections and on party control of the U.S. national government from 1789 through the reapportionment revolution of the 1960s. In this era before the courts supervised redistricting, state parties enjoyed wide discretion with regard to the timing and structure of
more » ... ir districting choices. Although Congress occasionally added language to federal-apportionment acts requiring equally populous districts, there is little evidence this legislation was enforced. Essentially, states could redistrict largely whenever and however they wanted, and so, not surprisingly, political considerations dominated the process. Engstrom employs the abundant cross-sectional and temporal variation in redistricting plans and their electoral results from all the statesthroughout U.S. history-in order to investigate 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, decided party control of the House of Representatives. In conclusion, Engstrom places recent developments in redistricting politics and scholarship within the larger historical context uncovered in this book.
doi:10.3998/mpub.5085808 fatcat:y7fyxhgntfadffq42gke2vm5wi