Many women probably were well aware of the “Gerry” in Gerrymandering. It is a practice that dates to the early days of the country. Gerrymandering involved a practice in which governmental districts are drawn to favor one person, one political party, or one class of people.
Governor Gerry remained on the scene in the early days of the republic. In addition to signing the Declaration of Independence, he also signed the Articles of Confederation. When the founders decided the Articles weren’t working well, a convention was called in Philadelphia in 1787, to revise them. Gerry was one of the delegates. In Philadelphia, the delegates decided to write a new constitution instead of revising the Articles of Confederation.
Gerry was active in the debates and argued forcefully, that individuals needed more protection from the all-powerful central government than the Constitution provided and that the protections needed to be spelled out. The convention, however, rejected his pleas. So when the Constitution was ready for signing and presented to the chairman of the convention, George Washington, Gerry said “No.” However, as a member of the First Congress (1789–1791), Gerry did back James Madison’s proposals for Constitutional amendments that eventually became the Bill of Rights, the first 10 amendments to the Constitution.
Gerry retired from public life after 2 terms in the House, but it was an active retirement, during which he served not only as Massachusetts Governor but also as President Madison’s Vice President (1813–1814). He died while Vice President in 1814, Gerrymandering, however, lives on.