Gerry, Elbridge

Gerry, Elbridge (1744-1814) Merchant, Governor of Massachusetts, Vice-President of the United States: Gerry was born in Marblehead, Massachusetts, on July 17, 1744. In 1762, he graduated from Harvard and began working in his father's shipping business. Ten years later, he was elected to the General Court of Massachusetts and to the committee of correspondence. Gerry attended the second Continental Congress, and signed both the Declaration of Independence and the Articles of Confederation. During most of the Revolutionary War, he served in Congress, supporting the securing of war supplies, despite his suspicion of militarism. Elected to the Massachusetts Assembly in 1786, he was sent to the Constitutional Convention a year later. Although he refused to sign the Constitution and opposed ratification, he was elected to Congress in 1789. In Congress, he supported Alexander Hamilton's economic policies, and was one of the delegates sent to France during the "XYZ Affair." Gerry became governor of Massachusetts in 1810, in which post he drew the districts of his state along partisan lines. This practice of creating districts for political purposes was called "gerrymandering." Gerry was elected Vice President of the United States in 1812, in James Madison's second term as President, but died while in office, on November 23, 1814.