Share this

Partisan Gerrymandering and the Construction of American Democracy, Erik J. Engstrom

Reviewed by Seth C. Mckee



Three quarters of American political history transpired before the 1960s, and yet virtually all of the research on congressional redistricting examines its effects after the 1962 one-person, one-vote ruling. The commonly held academic opinion that redistricting registers limited effects ignores the very different political setting of the late eighteenth and entire nineteenth centuries, when the absence of judicial oversight and congressional inter­vention produced an electoral milieu whose signature feature was no­holds-barred partisan gerrymandering. The lack of attention to the role of redistricting, as it was practiced throughout most of American history, not only has created scholarly blind spots, but these gaps in knowledge have led political scientists to overemphasize the critical-election narrative of party system change and its attendant effects on congressional policymaking.

By incorporating the role of redistricting in shaping the course of American history, Erik Engstrom offers a richer account of the political evolution of the U.S. Congress. Political time is divided into three broad periods: the early Republic (1789–1840), the partisan era (1840–1900), and the candi­date-centered era (1900 to the pres

To continue reading, see options above.

More by This Author

About PSQ's Editor

Demetrios James Caraley

Full Access

Join the Academy of Political Science and automatically receive Political Science Quarterly.

Editor’s spotlight

North Korea and the West

The Debate over North Korea


Search the Archives

Publishing since 1886, PSQ is the most widely read and accessible scholarly journal with distinguished contributors such as: Lisa Anderson, Robert A. Dahl, Samuel P. Huntington, Robert Jervis, Joseph S. Nye, Jr., Theda Skocpol, Woodrow Wilson

view additional issues

New APS Book

Continuing Issues in U.S. National Security Policy   CONTINUING ISSUES IN U.S. NATIONAL SECURITY POLICY

Most read

Articles | Book reviews

Understanding the Bush Doctrine
Robert Jervis

The Study of Administration
Woodrow Wilson

Notes on Roosevelt's "Quarantine" Speech
Dorothy Borg

view all

About US

Academy of Political Science

The Academy of Political Science, promotes objective, scholarly analyses of political, social, and economic issues. Through its conferences and publications APS provides analysis and insight into both domestic and foreign policy issues.

Political Science Quarterly

With neither an ideological nor a partisan bias, PSQ looks at facts and analyzes data objectively to help readers understand what is really going on in national and world affairs.

Stay Connected

newsstand locator
About APS