Elbridge Gerry

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Elbridge Gerry
Signature of Gerry

Elbridge Thomas Gerry [ ɛlbɹɪdʒ gɛɹɪ ] (born July 6 . Jul / 17th July  1744 greg. In Marblehead , Essex County , Province of Massachusetts Bay ; †  23. November 1814 in Washington, DC ) was an American politician . Gerry was a signatory of the Declaration of Independence , later Governor of Massachusetts, and Vice President of the United States under James Madison from March 4, 1813 until his death the following year . Nowadays he is best known for the gerrymandering practice named after him .


Gerry was born on July 6th . / July 17, 1744 greg. Born as the son of a respected trader who emigrated to America in 1730. He attended Harvard College as a teenager . Although he originally wanted to study medicine, he became a successful businessman under the guidance of his father, who was sent by the residents of his hometown to represent the General Assembly of the Massachusetts Province. In 1775 he was a delegate to the Continental Congress , of which he was a member until 1780 and again from 1783 to 1785. In 1787 Gerry became a member of the Philadelphia Convention ; he opposed a strong central government and therefore refused to sign the United States Constitution that year. He was more open to this when the Bill of Rights was added as an amendment to the constitution of the United States from 1789 .

In 1781 he was elected to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences . From 1789 to 1793 he was a member of the Congress , he was also a member of the US delegation, whose visit to Paris in 1797 led to the XYZ affair . As governor of Massachusetts for two terms, he came under fire for drawing new constituencies in favor of the Democratic Republican Party . This practice was named after him ( Gerrymandering ). Ironically, it turned out that he had nothing to do with the practice of gerrymandering, and he was even against it.

In the presidential election of 1812 , he ran as President James Madison's running mate to succeed the late George Clinton . The choice of the Democratic Republican Party fell on him mainly because he, as a politician from the northern states , would counterbalance the president from Virginia . After a successful election, he took up his new office as Vice President on March 4, 1813. However, he died of heart failure on November 23, 1814 as the second American Vice President in office. Since the legal basis for the appointment of a vice-president had not yet been created, the office remained vacant for the remainder of the term of office, i.e. until March 1817.


  • Jules Witcover: The American Vice Presidency: From Irrelevance to Power. Smithsonian Books, Washington, D. C. 2014, ISBN 978-1-5883-4471-7 , pp. 50-56 (= 5. Elbridge Gerry of Massachusetts ).
  • David Barton: Original Intent: The Courts, the Constitution, and Religion , Wallbuilders, 2004, ISBN 1-932225-26-9 .
  • George J Lankevich, Scholastic Library Publishing, George L Lankevich, Richard Streb, Gary Hermalyn: Roots of the Republic: The Grolier Library of the Founders of America , Bronx Historical Society, 1996, page 52/53, ISBN 0-7172-7608- 2 .

Web links

Commons : Elbridge Gerry  - Collection of Images, Videos and Audio Files

Individual evidence

  1. a b J.CA Stagg: Elbridge Gerry (1813-1814) - Vice President. ( Memento of the original from October 21, 2016 in the Internet Archive ) Info: The archive link was inserted automatically and has not yet been checked. Please check the original and archive link according to the instructions and then remove this notice. In: millercenter.org, University of Virginia , accessed February 22, 2016.  @1@ 2Template: Webachiv / IABot / millercenter.org
  2. Peter Cashwell: alongthoselines: the boundaries did create our world , First Paul Dry Books edition. Edition, Paul Dry Books, Philadelphia 2014, ISBN 978-1-58988-092-4 , p. 59.