Elbridge Gerry

 Elbridge Gerry

(1744-1814)


Gerry was born in 1744 to a wealthy merchant family in Massachusetts.

He graduated from Harvard and was a staunch supporter of Samuel Adams.

Gerry was active in protests against British policies and was one of the signers of the Declaration of Independence.

He often changed his mind about political issues.

For example, after Shays’ Rebellion he spoke against giving the common people too much power.

However he still argued for yearly elections and against giving the Senate, which was not accountable to the people, too much power.

Gerry refused to sign the Constitution because it did not contain a bill of rights and worked against ratification.

Throughout his life, Gerry served in a variety of offices, including that of governor of Massachusetts and vice president of the United States during James Madison’s administration.

The term gerrymander was coined to ridicule his party’s attempt to redistrict Massachusetts to ensure its domination of the state.

The district created by the legislation Gerry signed was imagined to resemble a salamander.



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