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Logrolling is the trading of favors, or quid pro quo, such as vote trading by legislative members to obtain passage of actions of interest to each legislative member. It is also the "cross quoting" of papers by academics in order to drive up reference counts. The Nuttall Encyclopedia describes log-rolling as "mutual praise by authors of each other's work." American frontiersman Davy Crockett was one of the first to apply the term to legislation:

The first known use of the term was by Congressman Davy Crockett, who said on the floor (of the U.S. House of Representatives) 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."[citation needed]

The widest accepted origin is the old custom of neighbors assisting each other with the moving of logs. If two neighbors had cut a lot of timber which needed to be moved, it made more sense for them to work together to roll the logs.[1][2] In this way, it is similar to a barn-raising where a neighbor comes and helps build your barn and then you go and help build his. Here is an example of the term's original use:

"A family comes to sit in the forest," wrote an observer in 1835. "Their neighbors lay down their employments, shoulder their axes, and come in to the log-rolling. They spend the day in hard labor, and then retire, leaving the newcomers their good wishes, and an habitation.[citation needed]

Though most sources support the above etymology, another possible origin is from the sport by the same name in which two contestants try to topple each other into the water by standing on a log. Each must keep up with the other or risk taking a spill, so it appears to be cooperative.[citation needed]

Spy Magazine ran a feature entitled "Logrolling in Our Time" that cited suspicious or humorous examples of mutually admiring book jacket blurbs by pairs of authors. Private Eye magazine regularly draws attention to alleged logrolling by authors in "books of the year" features published by British newspapers and magazines.[3]

See also

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