The Whole Union Gerrymandered

October 12, 1866


The Dispatch says the control that the Republicans have in the federal government is not because they represent the will of the majority but because the nation has been gerrymandered to a point that the Republicans are able to maintain control even as a minority.


The Whole Union Gerrymandered. Some fifteen years ago Andrew Johnson proposed to amend the Constitution of the United States so as to allow the people to vote for President and Vice-President without the intervention of electors. This amendment was not very popular, for the reason that there was then some respect for the rights of the States, and it was seen that this change in the Constitution would lead to a consolidated government. "The times have changed, and we have changed with them." The Federal Government is now the Colossus that strides over the vast empire extending from the Atlantic to the Pacific, and from the frozen regions of Vermont and Minnesota to the tropical glades of Florida and prairies of Texas. The States, like "petty men, Walk under his huge legs, and peep about To find themselves dishonorable graves." And It would now he better for the South if the vote for President and Vice-President could be taken as Mr. Johnson proposed. The Union is gerrymandered. The elections of this week prove clearly that if the voice of the whole people could be heard, and their will executed, the President's policy would be successful. But they are bound in stronger than adamantine chains. The masses of the South are kept down by a small majority in the North, and not ever allowed to be heard. The combined Radical Majorities in Pennsylvania, Ohio, and Indiana, could easily be overcome by the votes of a few of the southern States. There is in Virginia alone a majority in favor of the President's policy large enough to overbalance perhaps these combined Radical majorities; and If a President could be chosen as Mr. Johnson propossd, the Radicals would inevitably be defeated. Anyone who will take the trouble to add the votes in the southern States to the Conservative Votes in the norther States will and that a minority of the people of these United States are now ruling the majority against their will, in violation of the rights of a large number of and major portion in flagrant contempt of the republican doctrine that all governments derive their just powers from the consent of the governed. This is certainly a singular state of things to exist under a professedly republican form of government. The minority is in power, ond the majority is powerless. The majority is persecuted, and the minority are the persecutors. The majority is right, and the minority Is wrong, yet the minority is enabled by an unfortunate combination of circumstances to control the policy of the Government. There is something rotten in this Denmark of ours. Such wrongs ought not to be possible while even the form of submitting to the popular will is gone through. Mr. Johnson will not yield to a Radical minority. He might possibly to a clear majority. His respect for the popular will is not so great as that he can be made to believe that a minority is a majority.
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Nat Berry




“The Whole Union Gerrymandered,” Reconstructing Virginia, accessed November 27, 2021,