Born on July 17, 1744, in Marblehead, Massachusetts, Elbridge Gerry went on to become Governor of Massachusetts in 1810 and later Vice President under James Madison (1813-1814). While Gerry was governor, he became known for manipulating electoral districts for his own political gain. The division of one predominant Massachusetts district was so outlandish, the lines ended up resembling a salamander.
The process of organizing district lines with the goal of ensuring a political party’s electoral success eventually became known as gerrymandering. The term was created by combining the late Massachusetts governor's last name and "salamander" together and has continued to be used to describe this practice today.
We recognize Governor Gerry's birthday as a way to draw attention to the issue of gerrymandering in our state. For more information about the impact of gerrymandering in Indiana, click here to visit the Learn section of our website.