First Advisor

Thomas D. Morris

Date of Publication


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (M.A.) in History






Oregon Apportionment (Election law), United States Apportionment (Election law), Oregon, United States



Physical Description

1 online resource (83 p.)


This study explores the ways in which federal and state authorities have sought to deal with a difficult problem of political power in the context of the U.S. Constitution. Oregon reapportionment history offers an appropriate introduction to a critique of the national reapportionment decisions of Baker vs Carr and Reynolds vs Sims. Its Constitution stipulated population and the ratio derived from a population based formula were the means by which apportionment was to be determined and noncompliance had been particularly evident from 1933 to 1952. Also, by the initiative process and a decision by the Oregon Supreme Court, Oregon had resolved its reapportionment problem before national action was taken, demonstrating that a state could resolve such problems without national intervention.

The critique of Baker vs Carr is an attempt to examine the soundness of its judicial logic and thereby to demonstrate the impact it has had in perpetrating certain concepts of government.

The data consulted included interviews with people directly involved in the events considered, Supreme Court decisions, secondary studies, state documents containing legislative minutes and exhibits.

Oregon reapportionment history shows the ability of a state to solve a controversial political problem through the initiative process. However, the judicial logic in Baker vs Carr has created a new majoritarian philosophy of government that is unmindful of traditional concepts of federalism, and the Oregon experience.


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