Clark County, Ohio

History and Genealogy



Apportionment to Congress


From 20th Century History of Springfield and Clark County, Ohio by Hon. William A. Rockel
Chicago: Biographical Publishing Co., 1908


The United States constitution provides that representatives shall be apportioned among the several states according to their respective numbers, and that the number of representatives should not exceed one for every thirty thousand, but each state shall have at least one. This constitutional provision is likely to require, after the return of each census, changes in the Congressional districts of the state; for it is not often that a state will retain for a score of years the same relative population to other states of the union. If the parties in power were absolutely fair in dividing the states into districts, there perhaps would never be a change of districts between the returns of the census. However parties are not fair in this matter, and by an ingenius arrangement the counties can be so placed that the minority party will not have its fair proportionate number of Congressional representatives. From this fact it is not an uncommon thing for a change in the complexion of our State Legislature to mean a change in the boundaries of our various Congressional districts.

When Congressional districts are made unfairly, or changed by reason of such unfairness, and then made unfairly to the other party it is called "gerrymandering," this term being derived from Gerry, a Massachusetts man who first employed such tactics. The map of our state sometimes presents some very queer looking boot-leg situations after the gerrymander has gotten in his work.

On examination of the list of counties of the various districts in which Clark County had at various times appeared, it will be noticed that in the two decades from 1872-1892, there were no less than six different divisions of the state made for Congressional purposes. This happened because of a frequent change of the political complexion of our Legislature, and while General Keifer was first in Congress, from 1876-1881, during four successive terms, it so happened that his Congressional district was changed at each time he was elected.







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