Portrait by Nathaniel Jocelyn
On June 5, 1788, Patrick Henry spoke before Virginia's ratification convention in opposition to the Constitution.
John Adams (portrait by John Trumbull) held Gerry in high regard.
George Washington's 1788 letter to the Marquis de Lafayette observed, "the Convention of Massachusetts adopted the Constitution in toto; but recommended a number of specific alterations and quieting explanations." Source: Library of Congress
Ann Thompson
James Madison, primary author and chief advocate for the Bill of Rights in the First Congress
Gerry supported economic policies of Federalist Alexander Hamilton (portrait by Ezra Ames).
Charles Maurice de Talleyrand (portrait by François Gérard) insisted Gerry remain in Paris, even after negotiations had failed.
The word "gerrymander" (originally written "Gerry-mander") was used for the first time in the Boston Gazette newspaper on March 26, 1812. Appearing with the term, and helping spread and sustain its popularity, was this political cartoon, which depicts a state senate district in Essex County as a strange animal with claws, wings and a dragon-type head, satirizing the district's odd shape.
Grave of Elbridge Gerry at Congressional Cemetery
Elbridge Gerry House in Marblehead
General George Washington Resigning His Commission, by John Trumbull, shows Gerry standing on the left.

He was one of three men who attended the Constitutional Convention in 1787 who refused to sign the United States Constitution because it did not include a Bill of Rights at the time it was signed.

- Elbridge Gerry

On September 12, George Mason of Virginia suggested the addition of a Bill of Rights to the Constitution modeled on previous state declarations, and Elbridge Gerry of Massachusetts made it a formal motion.

- United States Bill of Rights

4 related topics


Portrait by John Vanderlyn, 1816

James Madison

American statesman, diplomat, and Founding Father who served as the 4th president of the United States from 1809 to 1817.

American statesman, diplomat, and Founding Father who served as the 4th president of the United States from 1809 to 1817.

Portrait by John Vanderlyn, 1816
Madison's Birthplace
Madison at Princeton, portrait by James Sharples
Congressional delegate Madison, age 32 by Charles Willson Peale
page one of the original copy
of the U.S. Constitution
Gouverneur Morris signs the Constitution before George Washington. Madison sits next to Robert Morris, in front of Benjamin Franklin. Painting by John Henry Hintermeister, 1925.
Thomas Jefferson founded the Democratic-Republican Party with Madison.
Montpelier, Madison's tobacco plantation in Virginia
The 1803 Louisiana Purchase totaled 827,987 sqmi, doubling the size of the United States.
James Madison by Gilbert Stuart,
1808 electoral vote results
James Madison engraving by David Edwin from between 1809 and 1817
USS Constitution defeats HMS Guerriere, a significant event during the war. U.S. nautical victories boosted American morale.
The British set ablaze the U.S. Capital on August 24, 1814.
Battle of New Orleans. 1815
Battle of Tippecanoe November 7, 1811
Portrait of James Madison c. 1821, by Gilbert Stuart
Madison's gravestone at Montpelier
Portrait of Madison, age 82, c. 1833
A life-sized statue of Madison at James Madison University.

He is hailed as the "Father of the Constitution" for his pivotal role in drafting and promoting the Constitution of the United States and the Bill of Rights.

Hoping to shore up his support in the Northeast, where the War of 1812 was unpopular, Madison selected Governor Elbridge Gerry of Massachusetts as his running mate.

Washington, D.C.

Capital city and only federal district of the United States.

Capital city and only federal district of the United States.

Looking West at the Capitol & the Mall, Washington DC
Historical coat of arms, as recorded in 1876
Following their victory at the Battle of Bladensburg (1814), the British entered Washington, D.C., burning down buildings, including the White House.
President Abraham Lincoln insisted that construction of the United States Capitol dome continue during the American Civil War (1861).
Crowds surrounding the Lincoln Memorial Reflecting Pool during the March on Washington, 1963
Satellite photo of Washington, D.C. by ESA
The Washington Monument, seen across the Tidal Basin during 2007's National Cherry Blossom Festival
The L'Enfant Plan for Washington, D.C., as revised by Andrew Ellicott in 1792
Looking Northwest at the Mall, Washington DC
Looking West from RFK Stadium, Washington DC
Construction of the 12-story Cairo Apartment Building (1894) in the Dupont Circle neighborhood spurred building height restrictions.
The Georgetown neighborhood is known for its historic Federal-style rowhouses. In the foreground is the 19th century Chesapeake and Ohio Canal.
Meridian Hill Park, in Columbia Heights
Map of racial distribution in Washington, D.C., according to the 2010 U.S. Census. Each dot is 25 people:
D.C. police on Harley-Davidson motorcycles escort a protest in 2018.
Federal Triangle, between Constitution Avenue and Pennsylvania Avenue. The U.S. federal government accounts for about 29% of D.C. jobs.
The Lincoln Memorial receives about six million visits annually.
The Smithsonian Institution is the world's largest research and museum complex. Like its administration building, known as The Castle, many of its museums are on the National Mall.
The National Gallery of Art
The Kennedy Center for Performing Arts is home to the Washington National Opera and National Symphony Orchestra.
Nationals Park in the Navy Yard area on the Anacostia River
is the home of the Washington Nationals baseball team.
The hometown Washington Capitals NHL hockey team plays in Penn Quarter's Capital One Arena; the arena is also home to the Washington Wizards NBA basketball team.
One Franklin Square: The Washington Post Building on Franklin Square
The Watergate complex was the site of the Watergate Scandal, which led to President Nixon's resignation.
The John A. Wilson Building houses the offices of the mayor of Washington and the Council of the District of Columbia.
The Eisenhower Executive Office Building, once the world's largest office building, houses the Executive Office of the President of the United States.
The Library of Congress is one of the world's largest libraries, with more than 167 million cataloged items.
Georgetown Day at Georgetown University
A Blue Line train at Farragut West, an underground station on the Washington Metro
Washington Union Station is one of the busiest rail stations in the United States.
I-66 in Washington, D.C.
The Capitol Power Plant, built to supply energy for the U.S. Capitol Complex, is under the jurisdiction of the Architect of the Capitol.

The following day, Elbridge Gerry of Massachusetts moved "that buildings for the use of Congress be erected on the banks of the Delaware near Trenton, or of the Potomac, near Georgetown, provided a suitable district can be procured on one of the rivers as aforesaid, for a federal town".

The National Archives houses thousands of documents important to American history, including the Declaration of Independence, the Constitution, and the Bill of Rights.

Copy of a 1750 portrait

George Mason

American planter, politician, Founding Father, and delegate to the U.S. Constitutional Convention of 1787, one of three delegates who refused to sign the Constitution.

American planter, politician, Founding Father, and delegate to the U.S. Constitutional Convention of 1787, one of three delegates who refused to sign the Constitution.

Copy of a 1750 portrait
Coat of Arms of George Mason
Artist rendering of Ann Eilbeck
Gunston Hall postage stamp, 1958 issue
House of Burgesses in Williamsburg, Virginia, where Mason served
Mason's plan for Virginia's constitution was adopted over proposals by Thomas Jefferson (pictured) and others.
Letter from Mason to Washington, 1776, congratulating the general on his victory in the siege of Boston
Independence Hall's Assembly Room, where the Constitutional Convention, for the most part, was held
Gunston Hall in May 2006, seen from the front
George Mason University, Fairfax, Virginia, in 2015, with the statue of Mason
"Declaration of the Rights of Man and of the Citizen", written mainly by Lafayette under Jefferson's influence, was based on ideals codified by Mason.

The Virginia Declaration of Rights, which Mason principally authored, served as a basis for the United States Bill of Rights, a document of which he has been deemed a father.

On August 31, 1787, Massachusetts' Elbridge Gerry spoke against the document as a whole, as did Luther Martin of Maryland.

The Bill of Rights in the National Archives

Tenth Amendment to the United States Constitution

The Bill of Rights in the National Archives

The Tenth Amendment (Amendment X) to the United States Constitution, a part of the Bill of Rights, was ratified on December 15, 1791.

After the Constitution was ratified, South Carolina Representative Thomas Tudor Tucker and Massachusetts Representative Elbridge Gerry separately proposed similar amendments limiting the federal government to powers "expressly" delegated, which would have denied implied powers.