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LOGROLLING is the term used when members of congress support each other's hometown projects not for the merit of the project but simply as a reciprocative exchange. The first known use of the term was by Congressman Davy Crockett, who said on the floor in 1835, "my people don't like me to log-roll in their business, and vote away pre-emption rights to fellows in other states that never kindle a fire on their own land." Logrolling is closely akin to, and results in, pork barrel legislation that loads up spending bills with hometown project money, often directed toward suspect causes or construction. It is an affliction of the democratic process that seems incurable.


Oxford English Dictionary. 2nd ed., s.v. "Logrolling." New York: Oxford University Press, 1989.

Carl E.Prince

See alsoPork Barrel .

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log·roll·ing / ˈlôgˌrōling; ˈläg-/ • n. 1. inf. the practice of exchanging favors, esp. in politics by reciprocal voting for each other's proposed legislation. 2. a sport in which two contestants stand on a floating log and try to knock each other off by spinning it with their feet. DERIVATIVES: log·roll·er / -lər/ n.

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logrolling the practice of exchanging favours, especially in politics by reciprocal voting for each other's proposed legislation. Recorded from the early 19th century, the expression is North American, and derives from the proverbial phrase you roll my log and I'll roll yours.