Elbridge Gerry

Delegates to the Constitutional Convention

Constitutional Convention
Elbridge Gerry. James Barton Longacre, copied after John Vanderlyn (c.1820) National Portrait Gallery, Smithsonian Institution, NPG.77.297.

State: Massachusetts

Age at Convention: 43

Date of Birth: July 17, 1744

Date of Death: November 23, 1814

Schooling: Harvard 1762

Occupation: Businessman, Public Security and Interests, Real Estate Land Speculation, Mercantile, Manufacturing and Shipping, Investor

Prior Political Experience: Signed the Declaration of Independence 1776, Lower House of Massachusetts State Legislature 1786, Continental Congress 1776-1780, Confederation Congress 1783-1785

Committee Assignments: Chairman of the First Committee of Representation

Convention Contributions: Arrived May 29, was present through the signing of the Constitution. He chaired the committee that presented the Connecticut Compromise but did not think that the Constitution provided adequate protection for the rights of individuals and the rights of the States. He refused to sign the Constitution. William Pierce stated that “Mr. Gerry’s character is marked for integrity and perseverance … Mr. Gerry is very much of a Gentlemen in his principles and manners.”

New Government Participation: He argued against adoption of the Constitution, and attempted to attend the Massachusetts ratifying convention without success. Served in the First Congress as U. S. Representative for Massachusetts (1789 – 1793). Served as commissioner to France for President Adams during the XYZ affair (1797-1798). Served as Vice President to President James Madison 1813-1814.)