Elbridge Gerry

vice president of the United States from 1813 to 1814

Elbridge Thomas Gerry (pronounced /ˈɡɛri/) (July 17, 1744November 23, 1814) was an American statesman and diplomat, and vice president of the United States of America, serving under James Madison.

The evils we experience flow from the excess of democracy.


  • The evils we experience flow from the excess of democracy. The people do not want virtue, but are the dupes of pretended patriots.
  • A standing army is like a standing member. It's an excellent assurance of domestic tranquility, but a dangerous temptation to foreign adventure.
    • Constitutional Convention (1787)
  • What, sir, is the use of a militia? It is to prevent the establishment of a standing army, the bane of liberty. Now, it must be evident, that, under this provision, together with their other powers, Congress could take such measures with respect to a militia, as to make a standing army necessary. Whenever Governments mean to invade the rights and liberties of the people, they always attempt to destroy the militia, in order to raise an army upon their ruins.

About Gerry

  • How is gerrymandering like a salamander? In 1812, Massachusetts Governor Elbridge Gerry signed a law that established an odd-shaped Congressional district. It was redrawn by political cartoonists into a salamander-type creature and thus the term gerrymander was born.
    • Matthew T. Rosenberg, The Handy Geography Answer Book (2004), p. 125 [1]
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