Cover

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pp. 1-1

Title Page, Abstract, About the Author, About the Series, Other Works in the Series, Copyright

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pp. 2-5

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Acknowledgments

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pp. 6-7

In writing this book, I have incurred many debts. At an early stage, Gary Cox, Mathew McCubbins, and, especially, Sam Kernell provided encouragement and insight. Janet Box-Steffensmeier and David Canon, the series editors for Legislative Politics & Policy Making, as well as the two anonymous scholars who reviewed the manuscript for the University of Michigan...

Contents

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pp. 8-9

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One. Gerrymandering and the Evolution of American Politics

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pp. 1-18

This book evaluates the impact of congressional redistricting on elections and control of U.S. national government from 1789 to the reapportionment revolution of the 1960s. The motivating question is one that scholars seldom ask: what was redistricting like in the past? It turns out that the answer to this question is essential for understanding both the past and...

Part I: The Early Republic, 1789–1840

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Two. Districting and the Construction of Early American Democracy

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pp. 21-42

Students of U.S. politics have long viewed political parties as essential in making a large-scale republican democracy work. Political parties coordinate the collective actions of elites and citizens. They provide for a modicum of collective responsibility that the constitutional separation of powers otherwise makes so difficult. Because political parties hold this prominent...

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Three. The Origins of Single-Member Districts

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pp. 43-56

As we saw in the previous chapter, between 1789 and 1840 over a quarter of the states in any given Congress used the general-ticket method of electing representatives. But in 1842, Congress abruptly voted to end the practice. Why did Congress change the rules of the game and why did it happen in 1842? Given that the electoral rules had clear partisan consequences, one...

Part II: The Partisan Era, 1840–1900

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Four. The Strategic Timing of Congressional Redistricting

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pp. 59-79

Following the 2002 election, Republicans in Texas’ state legislature found themselves in an unfamiliar position: the majority. The combination of a new state House majority and the reelection of Republican Governor Rick Perry produced the first unified Republican government in Texas in more than a century. Many credited the efforts of then House Majority Leader...

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Five. Stacking the States, Stacking the House: The Partisan Consequences of Congressional Redistricting

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pp. 80-99

In early 1890, the Ohio state legislature assembled for its new session. The state elections, held in 1889, had given the Democratic Party a slim majority in both the state assembly and state senate. With their newfound majority, the newly assembled Democratic caucus immediately turned to an issue of both local and national importance—redrawing congressional districts. Republicans...

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Six. Electoral Competition and Critical Elections

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pp. 100-129

Few doubt that contemporary House of Representatives elections are, on the whole, uncompetitive. The average vote margin for winners in recent House elections hovers at 70 percent of the vote (Jacobson 2009). The vast majority of House races are blowouts. In 2004, for example, only 32 contests, out of 435, were decided by 5 percent or less of the vote. The...

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Seven. A Congress of Strangers: Gerrymandering and Legislative Turnover

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pp. 130-147

The contemporary Congress is a highly professionalized organization with a relatively stable membership. In any given election year, few incumbents retire, and even fewer are defeated. Most run for reelection, and most win. In 2008, for example, 93 percent of incumbents ran for reelection, and 94 percent of those won. At the beginning of the 110th Congress, which followed...

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Eight. The Partisan Impact of Malapportionment

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pp. 148-164

In the federal reapportionment that followed the 2000 census, Pennsylvania was allocated 18 congressional seats. This was two less than Pennsylvania’s previous allotment and therefore necessitated a thorough redrawing of their congressional district boundaries. The Republican Party held sizable majorities in the state legislature and controlled the governorship, and...

Part III: Redistricting in the Candidate-Centered Era,1900–Present

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Nine. From Turbulence to Stasis, 1900–1964

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pp. 167-190

As previous chapters have shown, the U.S. Congress of the 19th century was highly turbulent. Careers were short. Partisan majorities rarely lasted long. Small shifts in the national vote produced immense changes in party ratios. By the early 20th century, however, things had changed radically and permanently. Congressional careers extended into decades. Partisan...

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Ten. Gerrymandering and the Future of American Politics

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pp. 191-206

In this book, I have argued for a fundamental reevaluation of gerrymandering and its impact on the evolution of American politics. The traditional narrative of political history has long centered on critical, realigning elections as the mainsprings of American politics. According to this narrative, some elections are more consequential than others. These critical elections...

Notes

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pp. 207-212

References

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pp. 213-222

Index

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pp. 223-228