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Elbridge Gerry

Gov. Elbridge Gerry

  • June 10, 1810 - June 5, 1812
  • Democratic-Republican
  • July 17, 1744
  • November 23, 1814
  • Massachusetts
  • Harvard University
  • Married Ann Thompson; seven children
  • Representative, Vice President, Ambassador
  • Signer of the Declaration of Independence


ELBRIDGE GERRY, the eighth governor of Massachusetts, was born in Marblehead, Massachusetts on July 17, 1744. His education was attained at Harvard University, where he graduated in 1762. After working in the family’s shipping business for a number of years, Gerry switched careers and entered into politics. He won his first election to the Massachusetts House of Representatives, a position he held from 1772 to 1775. He also served as a member of the Continental Congress from 1776 to 1780 and from 1783 to 1785, he was the president of the U.S. Treasury Board from 1776 to 1779, served as a member of the U.S. House of Representatives from 1789 to 1793, and was deployed to France on a diplomatic mission in 1797. He also signed the Declaration of Independence, and in 1787 served as a delegate to the U.S. Constitutional Convention, however, he declined to sign the constitution, but ultimately endorsed it. Gerry won election to the Massachusetts governorship on April 2, 1810. He was reelected to a second term in 1811. During his tenure, tensions mounted when Federalist appointees were permitted to remain in office. Consequently, the Gerrymander Bill was created which redistricted the state in a way that gave the Democratic-Republicans more power. After running unsuccessfully for reelection, Gerry left office on June 5, 1812. Later that same year, he was elected vice president of the United States, a position he held until death. Governor Elbridge Gerry passed away on November 23, 1814, and was buried at the Congressional Cemetery in Washington, D.C.


Sobel, Robert, and John Raimo, eds. Biographical Directory of the Governors of the United States, 1789-1978, Vol. 2, Westport, Conn.; Meckler Books, 1978. 4 vols.

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