- Elbridge Gerry (1744-1814), served as vice president of the United States under President James Madison from 1813 until his death. Gerry had served as governor of Massachusetts from 1810 to 1812. While he was governor, his political opponents claimed his party created unfair voting districts. They invented the word gerrymander for the division of districts to help a political party keep power.
Gerry attended the Constitutional Convention of 1787 as a delegate, but he refused to sign the Constitution of the United States. He said that it allowed the federal government too much control over the states. In 1797, President John Adams sent Gerry to France to smooth relations between the countries.
Gerry was born in Marblehead, Massachusetts, and graduated from Harvard University in 1762. He signed the Declaration of Independence in 1776. Gerry represented Massachusetts in the U.S. House of Representatives from 1789 to 1793.
Source: World Book, http://www2.worldbook.com/features/features.asp?feature=presidents&page=html/fairbanks.htm&direct=yes (8 Sept. 2003)