Elbridge Gerry

Elbridge Gerry (/ˈɡɛri/; July 17, 1744 (O.S. July 6, 1744) – November 23, 1814) was an American statesman and diplomat. As a Democratic-Republican he served as the fifth vice president of the United States under President James Madison from March 1813 until his death in November 1814. He is known best for being the eponym of gerrymandering.

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 who 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 a 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 Democratic-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, D.C.

Elbridge Gerry
5th Vice President of the United States
In office
March 4, 1813 – November 23, 1814
PresidentJames Madison
Preceded byGeorge Clinton
Succeeded byDaniel D. Tompkins
9th Governor of Massachusetts
In office
June 10, 1810 – June 5, 1812
LieutenantWilliam Gray
Preceded byChristopher Gore
Succeeded byCaleb Strong
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Massachusetts's 3rd district
In office
March 4, 1789 – March 3, 1793
Preceded byConstituency established
Succeeded byShearjashub Bourne
Peleg Coffin Jr.
Personal details
Elbridge Thomas Gerry

July 17, 1744
Marblehead, Massachusetts Bay, British America
DiedNovember 23, 1814 (aged 70)
Washington, D.C., U.S.
Resting placeCongressional Cemetery
Political partyDemocratic-Republican
Spouse(s)Ann Thompson
EducationHarvard University (BA, MA)
Elbridge Gerry's signature

Early life

Elbridge Gerry was born on July 17, 1744, in Marblehead, Massachusetts. His father, Thomas Gerry, was a merchant operating ships out of Marblehead, and his mother, Elizabeth (Greenleaf) Gerry, was the daughter of a successful Boston merchant.[1] Gerry's first name came from John Elbridge, one of his mother's ancestors.[2] Gerry's parents had eleven children in all, although only five survived to adulthood. Of these, Elbridge was the third.[3] He was first educated by private tutors, and entered Harvard College shortly before turning fourteen. After receiving a B.A. in 1762 and an M.A. in 1765, he entered his father's merchant business. By the 1770s the Gerrys numbered among the wealthiest Massachusetts merchants, with trading connections in Spain, the West Indies, and along the North American coast.[1][4] Gerry's father, who had emigrated from England in 1730, was active in local politics and had a leading role in the local militia.[5]

Early political career

Gerry was from an early time a vocal opponent of Parliamentary efforts to tax the colonies after the French and Indian War ended in 1763. In 1770 he sat on a Marblehead committee that sought to enforce importation bans on taxed British goods. He frequently communicated with other Massachusetts opponents of British policy, including Samuel Adams, John Adams, Mercy Otis Warren, and others.[1]

In May 1772 he won election to the Great and General Court of the Province of Massachusetts Bay (its legislative assembly). There he worked closely with Samuel Adams to advance colonial opposition to Parliamentary colonial policies. He was responsible for establishing Marblehead's committee of correspondence, one of the first to be set up after that of Boston.[6] However, an incident of mob action prompted him to resign from the committee the next year. Gerry and other prominent Marbleheaders had established a hospital for performing smallpox inoculations on Cat Island; because the means of transmission of the disease were not known at the time, fears amongst the local population led to protests which escalated into violence that wrecked the facilities and threatened the proprietors' other properties.[7]

Gerry reentered politics after the Boston Port Act closed that city's port in 1774, and Marblehead became a port to which relief supplies from other colonies could be delivered. As one of the town's leading merchants and Patriots, Gerry played a major role in ensuring the storage and delivery of supplies from Marblehead to Boston, interrupting those activities only to care for his dying father. He was elected as a representative to the First Continental Congress in September 1774, but refused, still grieving the loss of his father.[8]

Congress and Revolution

Gerry was elected to the provincial assembly, which reconstituted itself as the Massachusetts Provincial Congress after Governor Thomas Gage dissolved the body in October 1774.[9] He was assigned to its committee of safety, responsible for assuring that the province's limited supplies of weapons and gunpowder remained out of British Army hands. His actions were partly responsible for the storage of weapons and ammunition in Concord; these stores were the target of the British raiding expedition that sparked the start of the American Revolutionary War with the Battles of Lexington and Concord in April 1775.[10] (Gerry was staying at an inn at Menotomy, now Arlington, when the British marched through on the night of April 18.)[11] During the Siege of Boston that followed, Gerry continued to take a leading role in supplying the nascent Continental Army, something he would continue to do as the war progressed.[12] He leveraged business contacts in France and Spain to acquire not just munitions, but supplies of all types, and was involved in the transfer of financial subsidies from Spain to Congress. He sent ships to ports all along the American coast, and dabbled in financing privateering operations.[13]

John Trumbull - John Adams - Google Art Project
John Adams (portrait by John Trumbull) held Gerry in high regard.

Unlike some merchants, there is no evidence that Gerry profiteered from this activity (he spoke out against it, and in favor of price controls), although his war-related merchant activities notably increased the family's wealth.[14] His gains were tempered to some extent by the precipitous decline in the value of paper currencies, which he held in large quantities and speculated in.[15]

Gerry served in the Second Continental Congress from February 1776 to 1780, when matters of the ongoing war occupied the body's attention. He was influential in convincing a number of delegates to support passage of the United States Declaration of Independence in the debates held during the summer of 1776; John Adams wrote of him, "If every Man here was a Gerry, the Liberties of America would be safe against the Gates of Earth and Hell."[16] He was implicated as a member of the so-called "Conway Cabal", a group of Congressmen and military officers who were dissatisfied with the performance of General George Washington during the 1777 military campaign. However, Gerry took Pennsylvania leader Thomas Mifflin, one of Washington's critics, to task early in the episode, and specifically denied knowledge of any sort of conspiracy against Washington in February 1778.[17]

Gerry's political philosophy was one of limited central government, and he regularly advocated for the maintenance of civilian control of the military. He held these positions fairly consistently throughout his political career (wavering principally on the need for stronger central government in the wake of the 1786–87 Shays's Rebellion) and was well known for his personal integrity.[18] In later years he was against the idea of political parties, remaining somewhat distant from the developing Federalist and Democratic-Republican parties until later in his career. It was not until 1800 that he would formally associate with the Democratic-Republicans in opposition to what he saw as attempts by the Federalists to centralize too much power in the national government.[19] In 1780 he resigned from the Continental Congress over the issue, and refused offers from the state legislature to return to the Congress.[20] He also refused appointment to the state senate, claiming he would be more effective in the state's lower chamber, and also refused appointment as a county judge, comparing the offer by Governor John Hancock to those made by royally appointed governors to benefit their political allies.[21] He was elected a Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences in 1781.[22]

Gerry was convinced to rejoin the Confederation Congress in 1783, when the state legislature agreed to support his call for needed reforms.[23] He served in that body until September 1785, during which time it met in New York City. The following year he married Ann Thompson, the daughter of a wealthy New York merchant who was twenty years his junior; his best man was his good friend James Monroe.[16][24] The couple had ten children between 1787 and 1801, straining Ann's health.[16]

The war made Gerry sufficiently wealthy that when it ended he sold off his merchant interests, and began investing in land. In 1787 he purchased the Cambridge, Massachusetts estate of the last royal lieutenant governor of Massachusetts, Thomas Oliver, which had been confiscated by the state. This 100-acre (40 ha) property, known as Elmwood, became the family home for the rest of Gerry's life.[25] He continued to own property in Marblehead, and bought a number of properties in other Massachusetts communities. He also owned shares in the Ohio Company, prompting some political opponents to characterize him as an owner of vast tracts of western lands.[26]

Constitutional Convention

Gerry played a major role in the U.S. Constitutional Convention, held in Philadelphia during the summer of 1787.[27] In its deliberations he consistently advocated for a strong delineation between state and federal government powers, with state legislatures shaping the membership of federal government positions. Gerry's opposition to popular election of representatives was rooted in part by the events of Shays' Rebellion, a populist uprising in western Massachusetts in the year preceding the convention. Despite this position, he also sought to maintain individual liberties by providing checks on government power that might abuse or limit those freedoms.[28] He supported the idea that the Senate composition should not be determined by population; the view that it should instead be composed of equal numbers of members for each state prevailed in the Connecticut Compromise. The compromise was adopted on a narrow vote in which the Massachusetts delegation was divided, Gerry and Caleb Strong voting in favor.[29] Gerry further proposed that senators of a state, rather than casting a single vote on behalf of the state, instead vote as individuals.[30] Gerry was also vocal in opposing the Three-Fifths Compromise, which counted slaves as 3/5 of a person for the purposes of apportionment in the House of Representatives and gave southern states a decided advantage.[31]

Advocating indirect elections

Because of his fear of demagoguery and belief the people of the United States could be easily misled, Gerry also advocated indirect elections. Although he was unsuccessful in obtaining them for the lower house of Congress, Gerry did obtain such indirect elections for the U.S. Senate, whose members were to be elected by the state legislatures. Gerry also advanced numerous proposals for indirect elections of the President of the United States, most of them involving limiting the right to vote to the state governors and electors.[33]

Voting against proposed constitution

Gerry was also unhappy about the lack of expression of any sort of individual liberties in the proposed constitution, and generally opposed proposals that strengthened the central government. He was one of only three delegates who voted against the proposed constitution in the convention (the others were George Mason and Edmund Randolph), citing a concern about the convention's lack of authority to enact such major changes to the nation's system of government, and to the constitution's lack of "federal features".[34]

State ratification; Bill of Rights

During the ratification debates that took place in the states following the convention, Gerry continued his opposition, publishing a widely circulated letter documenting his objections to the proposed constitution.[35] In this document he cited the lack of a Bill of Rights as his primary objection, but also expressed qualified approval of the constitution, indicating that he would accept it with some amendment.[36] Strong pro-Constitution forces attacked him in the press, comparing him unfavorably to the Shaysites. Henry Jackson was particularly vicious: "[Gerry has] done more injury to this country by that infamous Letter than he will be able to make atonement in his whole life",[35] and Oliver Ellsworth, a convention delegate from Connecticut, charged him with deliberately courting the Shays faction.[37] One consequence of the furor over his letter was that he was not selected as a delegate to the Massachusetts ratifying convention,[38] although he was later invited to attend by the convention's leadership. The convention leadership was dominated by Federalists, and Gerry was not given any formal opportunity to speak; he left the convention after a shouting match with convention chair Francis Dana.[39] The state ratified the constitution by a vote of 187 to 168.[40] The debate had the result of estranging Gerry from a number of previously friendly politicians, including chairman Dana and Rufus King.[41]

United States House of Representatives

Anti-Federalist forces nominated Gerry for governor in 1788, but he was predictably defeated by the popular incumbent John Hancock.[42] Following ratification, Gerry recanted his opposition to the Constitution, noting that a number of state ratifying conventions had called for amendments that he supported.[43] He was nominated by friends (over his own opposition to the idea) for a seat in the inaugural House of Representatives, where he then served two terms.[44]

Alexander Hamilton portrait by Ezra Ames-cropped
Gerry supported the economic policies of Federalist Alexander Hamilton (portrait by Ezra Ames).

In June 1789 Gerry proposed that Congress consider all of the proposed constitutional amendments that various state ratifying conventions had called for (notably those of Rhode Island and North Carolina, which had at the time still not ratified the constitution).[45] In the debate that followed, he led opposition to some of the proposals, arguing that they did not go far enough in ensuring individual liberties. He successfully lobbied for inclusion of freedom of assembly in the First Amendment, and was a leading architect of the Fourth Amendment protections against search and seizure.[46] He sought unsuccessfully to insert the word "expressly" into the Tenth Amendment, which might have more significantly limited the federal government's power.[47] He was successful in efforts to severely limit the federal government's ability to control state militias.[48] In tandem, with this protection, he had once argued against the idea of the federal government controlling a large standing army, comparing it – most memorably and mischievously – to a standing penis: "An excellent assurance of domestic tranquility, but a dangerous temptation to foreign adventure."[49]

Gerry vigorously supported Alexander Hamilton's reports on public credit, including the assumption at full value of state debts, and supported Hamilton's new Bank of the United States, positions consistent with earlier calls he had made for economic centralization.[50] Although he speculated in depreciated Continental bills of credit (the IOUs at issue), there is no evidence he participated in large-scale speculation that attended the debate when it took place in 1790, and he became a major investor in the new bank.[51] He used the floor of the House to speak out against aristocratic and monarchical tendencies he saw as threats to republican ideals, and generally opposed laws and their provisions that he perceived as limiting individual and state liberties. He opposed any attempt to give officers of the executive significant powers, specifically opposing establishment of the Treasury Department because its head might gain more power than the President.[52] He opposed measures that strengthened the Presidency (such as the ability to fire cabinet officers), seeking instead to give the legislature more power over appointments.[53]

Gerry did not stand for re-election in 1792, returning home to raise his children and care for his sickly wife.[54] He agreed to serve as a presidential elector for John Adams in the 1796 election.[55] During Adams' term in office, Gerry maintained good relations with both Adams and Vice President Thomas Jefferson, hoping that the divided executive might lead to less friction. His hopes were not realized: the split between Federalists (Adams) and Democratic-Republicans (Jefferson) widened.[56]

XYZ Affair

Charles Maurice de Talleyrand-Périgord by François Gérard, 1808
Charles Maurice de Talleyrand (portrait by François Gérard) insisted Gerry remain in Paris after negotiations failed.

President Adams appointed Gerry to be a member of a special diplomatic commission sent to Republican France in 1797.[57] Tensions had risen between the two nations after the 1796 ratification of the Jay Treaty, made between the United States and Great Britain. It was seen by French leaders as signs of an Anglo-American alliance, and France had consequently stepped up seizures of American ships.[58] Adams chose Gerry, over his cabinet's opposition (on political grounds that Gerry was insufficiently Federalist), because of their long-standing relationship; Adams described Gerry as one of the "two most impartial men in America" (Adams himself being the other).[57]

Gerry joined co-commissioners Charles Cotesworth Pinckney and John Marshall in France in October 1797 and met briefly with Foreign Minister Talleyrand.[59] Some days after that meeting, the delegation was approached by three French agents (at first identified as "X", "Y", and "Z" in published papers, leading the controversy to be called the "XYZ Affair") who demanded substantial bribes from the commissioners before negotiations could continue.[60] The commissioners refused, and sought unsuccessfully to engage Talleyrand in formal negotiations.[61] Believing Gerry to be the most approachable of the commissioners, Talleyrand successively froze first Pinckney and then Marshall out of the informal negotiations, and they left France in April 1798.[62] Gerry, who sought to leave with them, stayed behind because Talleyrand threatened war if he left.[63] Gerry refused to make any significant negotiations afterward and left Paris in August.[64] By then dispatches describing the commission's reception had been published in the United States, raising calls for war.[65] The undeclared naval Quasi-War (1798–1800) followed.[66] Federalists, notably Secretary of State Timothy Pickering, accused Gerry of supporting the French and abetting the breakdown of the talks, while Adams and Republicans such as Thomas Jefferson supported him.[67] The negative press damaged Gerry's reputation, and he was burned in effigy by protestors in front of his home. He was only later vindicated, when his correspondence with Talleyrand was published.[56] In response to the Federalist attacks on him, and because of his perception that the Federalist-led military buildup threatened republican values, Gerry formally joined the Democratic-Republican Party in early 1800, standing for election as Governor of Massachusetts.[68]

Governor of Massachusetts

For four years Gerry unsuccessfully sought the governorship of Massachusetts. His opponent in these races, Caleb Strong, was a popular moderate Federalist, whose party dominated the state's politics despite a national shift toward the Republicans.[69] In 1803 Republicans in the state were divided, and Gerry only had regional support of the party. He decided not to run in 1804, returning to semi-retirement[70] and to deal with a personal financial crisis. His brother Samuel Russell had mismanaged his own business affairs, and Gerry had propped him up by guaranteeing a loan that was due. The matter ultimately ruined Gerry's finances for his remaining years.[71]

Republican James Sullivan won the governor's seat from Strong in 1807, but his successor was unable to hold the seat in the 1809 election, which went to Federalist Christopher Gore.[72] Gerry stood for election again in 1810 against Gore, and won a narrow victory. Republicans cast Gore as an ostentatious British-loving Tory who wanted to restore the monarchy (his parents had remained Loyal during the Revolution), and Gerry as a patriotic American, while Federalists described Gerry as a "French partizan" and Gore as an honest man devoted to ridding the government of foreign influence.[73] A temporary lessening in the threat of war with Britain aided Gerry.[74] The two battled again in 1811, with Gerry once again victorious in a highly acrimonious campaign.[75][76]

The Gerry-Mander Edit
The word gerrymander (originally written Gerry-mander) was used for the first time in the Boston Gazette newspaper on March 26, 1812.[77] Appearing with the term, and helping spread and sustain its popularity, was this political cartoon, which depicts a state senate district in Essex County as a strange animal with claws, wings and a dragon-type head, satirizing the district's odd shape.

Gerry's first year as governor was less controversial than his second, because the Federalists controlled the state senate. He preached moderation in the political discourse, noting that it was important that the nation present a unified front in its dealings with foreign powers.[78] In his second term, with full Republican control of the legislature, he became notably more partisan, purging much of the state government of Federalist appointees. The legislature also enacted "reforms" of the court system that resulted in an increase in the number of judicial appointments, which Gerry filled with Republican partisans. Infighting within the party and a shortage of qualified candidates, however, played against Gerry, and the Federalists scored points by complaining vocally about the partisan nature of the reforms.[79]

Other legislation passed during Gerry's second year included a bill broadening the membership of Harvard's Board of Overseers to diversify its religious membership, and another that liberalized religious taxes. The Harvard bill had significant political slant because the recent split between orthodox Congregationalists and Unitarians also divided the state to some extent along party lines, and Federalist Unitarians had recently gained control over the Harvard board.[80]

In 1812 the state adopted new constitutionally mandated electoral district boundaries. The Republican-controlled legislature had created district boundaries designed to enhance their party's control over state and national offices, leading to some oddly shaped legislative districts.[81] Although Gerry was unhappy about the highly partisan districting (according to his son-in-law, he thought it "highly disagreeable"), he signed the legislation. The shape of one of the state senate districts in Essex County was compared to a salamander by a local Federalist newspaper in a political cartoon, calling it a "Gerry-mander".[82] Ever since, the creation of such districts has been called gerrymandering.[81] Gerry also engaged in partisan investigations of potential libel against him by elements of the Federalist press, further damaging his popularity with moderates. The redistricting controversy, along with the libel investigation and the impending War of 1812, contributed to Gerry's defeat in 1812 (once again at the hands of Caleb Strong, whom the Federalists had brought out of retirement).[83][84] The gerrymandering[a] of the state senate was a notable success in the 1812 election: the body was thoroughly dominated by Republicans, even though the house and the governor's seat went to Federalists by substantial margins.[77]

Vice Presidency and death

Gerry's financial difficulties prompted him to ask President James Madison for a federal position after his loss in the 1812 election (which was held early in the year).[84] He was chosen by the Democratic-Republican party congress to be Madison's vice presidential running mate in the 1812 presidential election, although the nomination was first offered to John Langdon. He was viewed as a relatively safe choice who would attract Northern votes but not pose a threat to James Monroe, who was thought likely to succeed Madison. Madison easily won reelection, and Gerry took the oath of office at Elmwood in March 1813.[86] At that time the office of vice president was largely a sinecure; Gerry's duties included advancing the administration's agenda in Congress and dispensing patronage positions in New England.[87] Gerry's actions in support of the War of 1812 had a partisan edge: he expressed concerns over a possible Federalist seizure of Fort Adams (as Boston's Fort Independence was then known) as a prelude to Anglo-Federalist cooperation, and sought the arrest of printers of Federalist newspapers.[88]

On November 23, 1814, he fell seriously ill while visiting Joseph Nourse of the Treasury Department,[89] and died not long after returning to his home in the Seven Buildings.[90] He is buried in the Congressional Cemetery in Washington, D.C.,[91] with a memorial by John Frazee.[92] He is the only signer of the Declaration buried in the nation's capital.[93] The estate he left his wife and children was rich in land and poor in cash; he had managed to repay his brother's debts with his pay as vice president.[90] Aged 68 at the start of his Vice Presidency, he would be the oldest person to become Vice President until Charles Curtis in 1929.


Elbridge Gerry House
Elbridge Gerry House in Marblehead

Gerry is generally remembered for the use of his name in the word gerrymander, for his refusal to sign the United States Constitution, and for his role in the XYZ Affair. His path through the politics of the age has been difficult to characterize; early biographers, including his son-in-law James T. Austin and Samuel Eliot Morison, struggled to explain his apparent changes in position. Biographer George Athan Billias posits that Gerry was a consistent advocate and practitioner of republicanism as it was originally envisioned,[94] and that his role in the Constitutional Convention had a significant impact on the document it eventually produced.[95]

Gerry had ten children, of whom seven survived into adulthood:

  1. Catharine Gerry (1787–1850)
  2. Eliza Gerry (1791–1882)
  3. Ann Gerry (1791–1883)
  4. Elbridge Gerry, Jr. (1793–1867)[96]
  5. Thomas Russell Gerry (1794–1848), who married Hannah Green Goelet (1804–1845)[97]
  6. Helen Maria Gerry (1796–1864)
  7. James Thompson Gerry (1797–1854), who left West Point upon his father's death and was Commander of the war-sloop USS Albany (1846); the sloop disappeared with all hands 28 or 29 September 1854 near the West Indies.[98]

Gerry's grandson Elbridge Thomas Gerry became a distinguished lawyer and philanthropist in New York. His great-grandson, Peter G. Gerry (1879–1957), was a member of the U.S. House of Representatives and a United States Senator from Rhode Island.[99]

Gerry is depicted in two of John Trumbull's paintings, the Declaration of Independence and General George Washington Resigning His Commission.[101] Both are on view in the rotunda of the United States Capitol.[100]

The upstate New York town of Elbridge is believed to have been named in his honor, as is the western New York town of Gerry, in Chautauqua County.[102][103] The town of Phillipston, Massachusetts was originally incorporated in 1786 under the name Gerry in his honor, but was changed to its present name after the town submitted a petition in 1812, citing Democratic-Republican support for the War of 1812.[104]

Gerry's Landing Road in Cambridge, Massachusetts is located near the Eliot Bridge not far from Elmwood. During the 19th century, the area was known as Gerry's Landing (formerly known as Sir Richard's Landing), and was used by a Gerry relative for a short time as a landing and storehouse.[105][106] The supposed house of his birth, the Elbridge Gerry House (it is uncertain whether he was born in the house currently standing on the site or an earlier structure) stands in Marblehead, and that town's Elbridge Gerry School is named in his honor.[107][108]


  1. ^ gerrymandering is a process by which electoral districts are drawn with the aim of aiding the party in power, although its initial "g" has softened to // rather than the hard /ɡ/ of his name.[85]


  1. ^ a b c Purcell, p. 46
  2. ^ Greenleaf, p. 77
  3. ^ Billias, p. 5
  4. ^ Billias, p. 4
  5. ^ Billias, p. 3
  6. ^ Austin, pp. 6–27
  7. ^ Gilje, pp. 44–45
  8. ^ Billias, pp. 42–44
  9. ^ Billias, p. 46
  10. ^ Billias, p. 49
  11. ^ Billias, p. 52
  12. ^ Billias, pp. 55–56
  13. ^ Billias, pp. 124–30
  14. ^ Billias, pp. 56, 123
  15. ^ Billias, pp. 134–35
  16. ^ a b c Hatfield, Mark. "Vice Presidents of the United States: Elbridge Gerry (1813–1814)" (PDF). Senate Historical Office. Archived (PDF) from the original on 2012-10-19. Retrieved 2012-10-24.
  17. ^ Billias, pp. 76–77
  18. ^ Billias, pp. 140, 152, 192
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  22. ^ "Book of Members, 1780–2010: Chapter G" (PDF). American Academy of Arts and Sciences. Archived (PDF) from the original on 2014-01-16. Retrieved July 28, 2014.
  23. ^ Billias, p. 103
  24. ^ Ammon, p. 61
  25. ^ "National Register Nomination for Elmwood". National Park Service. Retrieved 2012-10-24.
  26. ^ Billias, p. 137
  27. ^ Billias, p. 158
  28. ^ Billias, pp. 153–54
  29. ^ Billias, p. 178
  30. ^ Billias, p. 182
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  33. ^ https://www.archives.gov/publications/prologue/2006/spring/gerry.html Archived 2017-07-19 at the Wayback Machine "A Founding Father in Dissent Elbridge Gerry Helped Inspire Bill of Rights in His Opposition to the Constitution". National Archives.
  34. ^ Billias, p. 159, 200
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  40. ^ Billias, p. 214
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  42. ^ Billias, p. 215
  43. ^ Billias, p. 207
  44. ^ Billias, pp. 216, 243
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  49. ^ Isaacson, Walter (2003). Benjamin Franklin: An American Life. New York, NY: Simon & Schuster. p. 456. ISBN 0-684-80761-0. Archived from the original on 2013-05-19. Retrieved 2013-05-24.
  50. ^ Billias, pp. 223, 237
  51. ^ Billias, pp. 240, 242
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  53. ^ Billias, p. 226
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  56. ^ a b Purcell, pp. 51–52
  57. ^ a b Ferling, p. 345
  58. ^ Elkins and McKitrick, pp. 537–38
  59. ^ Stinchcombe, pp. 596–97
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  62. ^ Stinchcombe, pp. 598–613
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  65. ^ Ferling, pp. 354–57
  66. ^ Smith, p. 130
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  69. ^ Buel, pp. 39–44
  70. ^ Billias, pp. 304–305
  71. ^ Billias, pp. 305–06
  72. ^ Buel, pp. 73–82, 103–04
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  74. ^ Buel, pp. 104–07
  75. ^ Buel, pp. 116–17
  76. ^ Formisano, p. 74
  77. ^ a b Griffith, pp. 72–73
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  79. ^ Buel, pp. 144–47
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  81. ^ a b Hart, p. 3:458
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  88. ^ Morison, p. 2:57
  89. ^ "To John Adams from Rufus King, 23 November 1814". archive.gov. Archived from the original on 2015-05-18. Retrieved 12 May 2015.
  90. ^ a b Billias, p. 329
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  92. ^ "Search results for: Frazee John, page 2 - Collections Search Center, Smithsonian Institution". collections.si.edu. Archived from the original on 2013-12-31. Retrieved 2013-11-04.
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  96. ^ "DIED". May 21, 1867. Retrieved 24 April 2017.
  97. ^ Kestenbaum, Lawrence. "The Political Graveyard: Gerry family". politicalgraveyard.com. The Political Graveyard. Retrieved 14 September 2016.
  98. ^ See U.S. Military and Naval Academies, Cadet Records and Applications, 1805–1908, National Archives and Records Administration (NARA); Washington, D.C.; U.S. Military Academy Cadet Application Papers, 1805–1866; Microfilm Serial: M688; Microfilm Roll: 3, File #1–108 and Unnumbered; 1814: James T. Gerry, 1814. Accessed 4 November 2015. (subscription required). See also Charles R. Hale Collection. Hale Collection of Connecticut Cemetery Inscriptions. Hartford, Connecticut: Connecticut State Library. Connecticut Headstone Inscriptions Vol 32, Transcription here Archived 2016-03-05 at the Wayback Machine. Accessed 4 November 2015.
  99. ^ "Biographical Abstract of Peter G. Gerry". United States Congress. Archived from the original on 2011-08-05. Retrieved 2012-12-08.
  100. ^ a b "General George Washington Resigning His Commission". Architect of the Capitol. Archived from the original on 2017-07-31. Retrieved 2018-01-23.
  101. ^ Weir, pp. 66–67
  102. ^ Beauchamp, p. 361
  103. ^ Downs and Hedley, p. 187
  104. ^ Marvin, pp. 220–21
  105. ^ Publications of the Cambridge Historical Society, p. 85
  106. ^ Bethell et al, p. 62
  107. ^ "MACRIS Inventory: Elbridge Gerry House". Commonwealth of Massachusetts. Archived from the original on 2013-02-22. Retrieved 2012-12-08.
  108. ^ "MACRIS Inventory: Eldridge[sic] Gerry School". Commonwealth of Massachusetts. Archived from the original on 2013-02-21. Retrieved 2012-12-08.


Further reading

  • Kramer, Eugene F (1956). "Some New Light on the XYZ Affair: Elbridge Gerry's Reasons for Opposing War with France". New England Quarterly (Volume 29, No. 4): 509–13. ISSN 0028-4866.
  • Billias, George. Elbridge Gerry: Founding Father and Republican Statesman. New York: McGraw-Hill Book Company, 1976.

External links

U.S. House of Representatives
New constituency Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Massachusetts's 3rd congressional district

Succeeded by
Shearjashub Bourne
Peleg Coffin Jr.
Party political offices
New political party Democratic-Republican nominee for Governor of Massachusetts
1800, 1801, 1802, 1803
Succeeded by
James Sullivan
Preceded by
Levi Lincoln
Democratic-Republican nominee for Governor of Massachusetts
1810, 1811, 1812
Succeeded by
Joseph B. Varnum
Preceded by
John Langdon
Democratic-Republican nominee for Vice President of the United States
Succeeded by
Daniel D. Tompkins
Political offices
Preceded by
Christopher Gore
Governor of Massachusetts
Succeeded by
Caleb Strong
Preceded by
George Clinton
Vice President of the United States
Succeeded by
Daniel D. Tompkins
1812 United States presidential election

The United States presidential election of 1812, the seventh quadrennial American presidential election, was held from Friday, October 30, 1812 to Wednesday, December 2, 1812. Taking place in the shadow of the War of 1812, incumbent Democratic-Republican President James Madison defeated DeWitt Clinton, who drew support from dissident Democratic-Republicans in the North as well as Federalists. It was the first presidential election to be held during a major war involving the United States.Northern Democratic-Republicans had long been dissatisfied by the Southern dominance of their party, and DeWitt Clinton's uncle, Vice President George Clinton, had unsuccessfully challenged Madison for the party's 1808 presidential nomination. While the May 1812 Democratic-Republican congressional nominating caucus re-nominated Madison, the party's New York caucus, also held in May, nominated Clinton for president. After the United States declared war on the United Kingdom in June 1812, Clinton sought to create a coalition of anti-war Democratic-Republicans and Federalists. With Clinton in the race, the Federalist Party declined to formally put forth a nominee, hoping its members would vote for Clinton, but they did not formally endorse him, fearing that an explicit endorsement of Clinton would hurt the party's fortunes in other races. Federalist Jared Ingersoll of Pennsylvania became Clinton's de facto running mate.

Despite Clinton's success at attracting Federalist support, Madison was re-elected with 50.4 percent of the popular vote to his opponent's 47.6%, making the 1812 election the closest election up to that point in the popular vote. Clinton won the Federalist bastion of New England as well as three Mid-Atlantic states, but Madison dominated the South and took Pennsylvania. Though Madison won a relatively comfortable victory in the electoral vote, this was the most closely contested election held between 1800 and 1824.

Abbot Hall (Marblehead, Massachusetts)

Abbot Hall is a town hall and historical museum located at 188 Washington Street, Marblehead, Massachusetts. It is open year-round, though with restricted hours in the colder months. Constructed in 1876 and designed in the Romanesque style by Lord & Fuller architects, the Hall is listed on the National Register of Historic Places as a contributing property in the historic district.

In addition to serving as the seat of Marblehead's town government, Abbot Hall has holdings as a museum. It contains the original painting Spirit of '76 by American Archibald MacNeal Willard, which was widely reproduced; the 1684 deed to Marblehead signed by descendants of Wenepoykin, youngest son of Nanepashemet, chief or sachem of the regional Pawtucket confederation of Abenaki peoples prior to Pilgrim settlement; a bust of native son and U.S. Vice-President Elbridge Gerry; a painting of Marbleheaders rowing Washington across the Delaware River during the American Revolution; a painting by primitivist J.O.J. Frost, and a number of other historical artifacts. A plaque on display in the Selectmen's room, discovered in the Philadelphia Navy Yard, proclaims Marblehead as the "Birthplace of the American Navy."

Ann Gerry

Ann Thompson Gerry (; August 12, 1763 – March 17, 1849) was the wife of Vice President Elbridge Gerry, thus the Second Lady of the United States from 1813 to 1814.

Elbridge Chapman

Major General Elbridge Gerry Chapman, Jr. (20 November 1895 – 6 July 1954) was a senior United States Army officer who served in both World War I and World War II. During the latter he commanded the 13th Airborne Division, but saw no action. General Chapman was portrayed in the television miniseries Band of Brothers by David Andrews.

Elbridge G. Lapham

Elbridge Gerry Lapham (October 18, 1814 – January 8, 1890) was a U.S. Senator from New York from 1881–1885.

Elbridge G. Spaulding

Elbridge Gerry Spaulding (February 24, 1809 – May 5, 1897) was an American lawyer, banker, and Republican Party politician. He opposed slavery and supported the idea for the first U.S. currency not backed by gold or silver, thus helping to keep the Union's economy afloat during the U.S. Civil War.

Elbridge Gerry (Maine)

Elbridge Gerry (December 6, 1813 – April 10, 1886) was an American lawyer, who served as a U.S. Congressman from Maine from 1849 to 1851.

Elbridge Gerry (disambiguation)

Elbridge Gerry (1744–1814) was the fifth Vice President of the United States, under James Madison.

Elbridge Gerry may also refer to:

Elbridge Gerry (Maine) (1813–1886), U.S. Representative from Maine

Elbridge Thomas Gerry (1837–1927), American reformer

Elbridge Thomas Gerry Sr. (1908–1999), banker and polo player

Elbridge Gerry House

The Elbridge Gerry House is a historic house at 44 Washington Street in Marblehead, Massachusetts. Local lore holds that this house is a c. 1730 house that was the home of merchant Thomas Gerry, and the place where statesman Elbridge Gerry was born in 1744. Stylistic analysis of the house, however, suggests that it is instead a late Georgian or early Federalist construction dating to c. 1790.The house listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1973, and included in the Marblehead Historic District in 1984.

Elbridge Gerry Mansion

The Elbridge T. Gerry Mansion was a lavish mansion built in 1895 at Fifth Avenue and 61st Street in Manhattan. It was built for Elbridge Thomas Gerry (1837–1927), a grandson of statesman Elbridge Gerry.

It was designed by architect Richard Morris Hunt as a French Renaissance chateau. Plans for the house were formally announced in The New York Times on May 15, 1892. Construction began by 1895 and it was opened officially in 1897. The entrance of the structure was based on the Louis XIII wing of the Château de Blois.The mansion survived just 32 years. It was demolished in 1929 to make way for The Pierre hotel.Its front entrance was via an iron porte-cochère.It included sculptural spandrel figures Night and Day by Isidore Konti.

Elbridge Thomas Gerry

Elbridge Thomas Gerry (December 25, 1837 – February 18, 1927), usually called "Commodore" Gerry due to the office he held with the New York Yacht Club from 1886 to 1892, was an American lawyer and reformer who was the grandson of U.S. Vice President Elbridge Gerry.

Gerry, New York

Gerry is a town in Chautauqua County, New York, United States. The population was 1,905 at the 2010 census. The town is named after Elbridge Gerry, Vice President of the U.S. The town is centrally located in the county and is north of Jamestown.

John Gaillard

John Gaillard (September 5, 1765 – February 26, 1826) was a U.S. Senator from South Carolina.

Gaillard was born in St. Stephen's district, South Carolina, on September 5, 1765. He was of Huguenot descent. He was elected to the United States Senate in place of Pierce Butler, who resigned, and served from December 6, 1804 until his death in Washington, D.C. on February 26, 1826. During his tenure, Gaillard voted for the War of 1812. He served as President pro tempore of the Senate during part of the 11th Congress and at least part of every Congress from the 13th to the 18th. He was also first in the presidential line of succession from November 25, 1814, two days after the death of Vice President Elbridge Gerry, to March 4, 1817.

In his memoir Thirty Years' View, Thomas H. Benton, one of Gaillard's contemporaries, described him thus:

Urbane in his manners, amiable in temper, scrupulously impartial, uniting absolute firmness of purpose with the greatest gentleness of manners—such were the qualifications which commended him to the presidency of the senate. There was probably not an instance of disorder or a disagreeable scene in the chamber during his long-continued presidency. He classed democratically, but was as much the favorite of one side of the house as of the other, and that in the high party times of the war with Great Britain, which so much exasperated party spirit.

Gaillard died in Washington, D.C. on 26 February 1826 and was interred in the Congressional Cemetery.

Massachusetts Hall (Harvard University)

Massachusetts Hall is the oldest surviving building at Harvard College, the first institution of higher learning in the British colonies in America, and second oldest academic building in the United States after the Wren Building at the College of William & Mary. As such, it possesses great significance not only in the history of American education but also in the story of the developing English Colonies of the 18th century. Massachusetts Hall was designed by Harvard Presidents John Leverett and his successor Benjamin Wadsworth. It was erected between 1718 and 1720 in Harvard Yard. It was originally a dormitory containing 32 chambers and 64 small private studies for the 64 students it was designed to house. During the siege of Boston, 640 American soldiers took quarters in the hall. Much of the interior woodwork and hardware, including brass doorknobs, disappeared at this time.

While designed as a residence for students, the building has served many purposes through the years. After Thomas Hollis donated a quadrant and a 24-foot telescope in 1722, for example, the building housed an informal observatory.

Currently, the President of the University, Provost, Treasurer, and Vice Presidents have offices that occupy the first two floors and half of the third. Freshmen reside in the fourth floor.

Massachusetts Hall, as Harvard's oldest extant dormitory, has housed many influential people. Founding fathers who lived in Massachusetts Hall include John Adams, John Hancock, Samuel Adams, Elbridge Gerry, and James Otis. Members of the Wigglesworth, Weld, Thayer, Eliot, and Lowell families (among others), whose names now grace other dormitories, also lived in Massachusetts Hall. More recent notable residents of Massachusetts Hall include Alan Jay Lerner, Elliot Richardson, John Harbison, and Jeff Schaffer.

Old Town House (Marblehead, Massachusetts)

The Old Town House is in the heart of the Marblehead Historic District at One Market Square in Marblehead, Massachusetts, at the intersection of Washington, State, and Mugford Streets.

The town house was constructed in 1727. The upper level of the building served as a town hall, while the lower level was originally used as a market. The upstairs is still used as a town hall, but the lower level is the location of the Marblehead Police Museum. During the American Revolution notable proponents of liberty such as Elbridge Gerry and General John Glover debated independence in the building.The building was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1976, and included in the Marblehead Historic District in 1984.

Paradise Farm

Paradise Farm are historic agricultural and domestic buildings located west of Bellevue, Iowa, United States. Massachusetts native Elbridge Gerry Potter settled near Big Mill Creek in 1842 from Illinois. He arrived here with 500 head of cattle, 40 teams of mules, and money. In addition to this farm he operated a flour mill and sawmill in Bellevue, and established steamboat lines on the Mississippi River at Bellevue, on the Yazoo River in Louisiana and the Red River in Texas.

This was Potter's home, and it included 1,400 acres (570 ha). The three buildings are coarsely-dressed limestone covered with stucco, and built in the mid-1840s. The main house, built in 1846, is three-story stone structure capped with a flat roof and a cupola. It housed the first lending library in Iowa. His book collection included subjects such as medicine, poetry, religion, and women's suffrage. He kept track of the books with a system of numbers and color codes for the books and the shelves. The three story dormitory is a rectangular structure that housed the buttery, the farm's main kitchens and bunk quarters for workers. The carriage barn is a two-story, rectangluar structure. One side of the ground level housed the carriages and wagons, and the second level housed the loft. It featured segmental arched windows with heavy stone sills. Paradise Farms has been home to generations of Potter's descendants. It was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1977.

Second inauguration of James Madison

The second inauguration of James Madison as President of the United States was held on Thursday, March 4, 1813, at the United States Capitol in Washington, D.C.. The inauguration marked the commencement of the second four-year term of James Madison as President and the only term of Elbridge Gerry as Vice President. The presidential oath was administered by Chief Justice John Marshall. Gerry died 1 year, 264 days into this term, and the office remained vacant for the balance of it. (Prior to ratification of the Twenty-fifth Amendment in 1967, no constitutional provision existed for filling an intra-term vacancy in the vice presidency.)

XYZ Affair

The XYZ Affair was a political and diplomatic episode in 1797 and 1798, early in the presidency of John Adams, involving a confrontation between the United States and Republican France that led to the Quasi-War. The name derives from the substitution of the letters X, Y and Z for the names of French diplomats Hottinguer (X), Bellamy (Y), and Hauteval (Z) in documents released by the Adams administration.

An American diplomatic commission was sent to France in July 1797 to negotiate a solution to problems that were threatening to break out into war. The diplomats, Charles Cotesworth Pinckney, John Marshall, and Elbridge Gerry, were approached through informal channels by agents of the French Foreign Minister Talleyrand, who demanded bribes and a loan before formal negotiations could begin. Although such demands were not uncommon in mainland European diplomacy of the time, the Americans were offended by them, and eventually left France without ever engaging in formal negotiations. Gerry, seeking to avoid all-out war, remained for several months after the other two commissioners left. His exchanges with Talleyrand laid groundwork for the eventual end to diplomatic and military hostilities.

The failure of the commission caused a political firestorm in the United States when the commission's dispatches were published. It led to the undeclared Quasi-War (1798–1800). Federalists, who controlled both houses of Congress and held the presidency, took advantage of the national anger to build up the nation's military. They also attacked the Democratic-Republicans for their pro-French stance, and Elbridge Gerry (a nonpartisan at the time) for what they saw as his role in the commission's failure.

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