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Elbridge Gerry

From Academic Kids

Elbridge Gerry

Elbridge Gerry (July 17, 1744November 23, 1814) was an American politician, a member of the Democratic-Republican Party. He was the fifth Vice President of the United States, serving under James Madison, from March 4, 1813 until his death. He was the second Vice President to die in office; the first to have died in office was Gerry's immediate predecessor, George Clinton, who served under Thomas Jefferson and James Madison.

Gerry was one of the signers of the Declaration of Independence and the Articles of Confederation. He later became governor of Massachusetts. He is most famous for being the namesake of the art of gerrymandering — a process by which electoral districts are drawn with the aim of aiding the party in power.

Born in Marblehead, Massachusetts, the third of twelve children, he was a graduate of Harvard College, attending there from age fourteen. He worked in his father's business and came to prominence over his opposition to commerce taxes. He was elected to the General Court of the province of Massachusetts in May 1772 on an anti-British platform.

Gerry was a Massachusetts delegate to the Continental Congress from February 1776 to 1780. He also served from 1783 to September 1785. In 1787 he attended the United States Constitutional Convention and was one of the delegates voting against the new constitution (joining Mason and Randolph in not signing it). He was elected to the U.S. House under the new national government, and served in Congress from 1789 to 1793.

In 1797-98 he served in the delegation to France over the XYZ Affair. In 1810 he was elected Governor of Massachusetts. He was re-elected in 1811 but defeated in 1812 over his support for the redistricting bill that created the word gerrymander. Despite this he was chosen as vice president to James Madison. He died in office in Washington, D.C. and is buried in the Congressional Cemetery.

Contents

Quotes

  • "The evils we experience flow from the excess of democracy. The people do not want virtue, but are dupes of pretended patriots" (1)

References

  1. Government By The People, The Dynamics of American National, State, and Local Government, James MacGregor Burns & Jack Walter Peltason, 6th edition, Prentice-Hall, Inc., Englewood Cliffs, NJ, 1963. pg 50.

Bibliography

  • James Austin; "Life of Elbridge Gerry"; 1970; Da Capo Press (ISBN 0306718413).
  • George Billias; "Elbridge Gerry, Founding Father and Republican Statesman"; 1976, McGraw-Hill Publishers (ISBN 0070052697).

External link


Preceded by:
(none)
U.S. Congressman for the 3rd District of Massachusetts
1789-1793
Succeeded by:
David Cobb
Preceded by:
Christopher Gore
Governor of Massachusetts
1810–1812
Succeeded by:
Caleb Strong
Preceded by:
George Clinton
Republican Party Vice Presidential candidate
1812 (won)
Succeeded by:
Daniel D. Tompkins
Preceded by:
George Clinton
Vice President of the United States
March 4, 1813November 23, 1814
Succeeded by:
Daniel D. Tompkins

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