Elbridge Gerry: Letter to the Massachusetts Legislature on the U.S. Constitution

(1787)

Elbridge Gerry’s views were taken seriously by his contemporaries, and his writings were carefully read by people involved in the politics of the day. Although he seems to have viewed himself primarily as a state politician rather than as a national one, his ideas had resonance throughout the United States. The most influential of Gerry’s documents were created during the period when the United States transitioned from the Articles of Confederation to the Constitution and in the early years of the new government. He was the northern states’ most prominent opponent of the Constitution, and his Letter to the Massachusetts Legislature on the U.S. Constitution explains his objections: the lack of a bill of rights and insufficient checks on the power of the presidency, Congress, and the judiciary. His objections were taken into consideration not only in his home state of Massachusetts but throughout America as well, and his contentions were often the subjects of public...

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Elbridge Gerry (Library of Congress)

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