m. 16 Dec 1734
Facts and Events
Elbridge Thomas Gerry (; July 17, 1744 (O.S. July 6, 1744) – November 23, 1814) was an American statesman and diplomat. As a Democratic-Republican he was selected as the fifth Vice President of the United States (1813–1814), serving under James Madison. He is known best for being the namesake of gerrymandering, a process by which electoral districts are drawn with the aim of aiding the party in power, although its initial "g" has softened to from the hard of his name.
Born into a wealthy merchant family, Gerry vocally opposed British colonial policy in the 1760s, and was active in the early stages of organizing the resistance in the American Revolutionary War. Elected to the Second Continental Congress, Gerry signed both the Declaration of Independence and the Articles of Confederation. He was one of three men who attended the Constitutional Convention in 1787 but refused to sign the United States Constitution because it did not then include a Bill of Rights. After its ratification he was elected to the inaugural United States Congress, where he was actively involved in drafting and passage of the Bill of Rights as an advocate of individual and state liberties.
Gerry was at first opposed to the idea of political parties, and cultivated enduring friendships on both sides of the political divide between Federalists and Democratic-Republicans. He was a member of a diplomatic delegation to France that was treated poorly in the XYZ Affair, in which Federalists held him responsible for the breakdown in negotiations. Gerry thereafter became a Democratic-Republican, running unsuccessfully for Governor of Massachusetts several times before winning the office in 1810. During his second term, the legislature approved new state senate districts that led to the coining of the word "gerrymander"; he lost the next election, although the state senate remained Republican. Chosen by Madison as his vice presidential candidate in 1812, Gerry was elected, but died a year and a half into his term. He is the only signer of the Declaration of Independence who is buried in Washington, DC.