Elbridge Gerry, a signer of the Declaration of Independence, was the “Gerry” behind gerrymandering.
In 1812, when Gerry was the Republican governor of Massachusetts, legislators from his party redrew district lines to favor their representatives.
Their rivals, the Federalists, blamed Gerry for the redistricting (though he was actually opposed to it).
A Federalist cartoonist portrayed a warped district as a salamander, and called it a “Gerrymander.”
The name became a common term for drawing districts to suit political advantage.