Born on July 17, 1744 in Marblehead, Massachusetts, Elbridge Gerry was the third of twelve children. He grew up to study at Harvard to become a merchant and graduated in 1762. His father owned a ship-building
business that Elbridge worked at. In 1786 he married Ann Thompson, the daughter of a wealthy New York merchant. She was 21 years his junior.
Gerry opposed commerce taxes and was elected to the Massachusetts General Court on an anti-British campaign in May 1772. He was elected to the Massachusetts Legislature in 1773. In 1774 he was selected to attend the Provincial Congress. At the Continental Congress he did committee work on commercial and naval concerns. In 1798 he attended the Constitutional Convention, but he was opposed to the Federal Constitution. Though he had signed both the Declaration of Independence and the Articles of Confederation, Gerry was one of three to refuse to sign the Constitution.
He represented Massachusetts in the first two Congresses as an Anti-Administration candidate, and after being elected into Congress, Gerry became a strong supporter of the new government and Alexander Hamilton’s reports on public credit. He also supported the Bank of the United States. In 1797 he was an envoy sent to France. After the other delegates of the envoy returned, Elbridge stayed in France, so he was accused of supporting the French. He served as governor of Massachusetts in 1780 and 1781. Gerry received a lot of criticism because he redistricted the state to the advantage of his own political party. In 1812 he was elected as Vice President under President Madison. On November 23, 1814, he died in Washington, D.C.