The Vice President: Loving Heir Apparent?

Gouverneur Morris

Liberty Letters with Steve Farrell

Elbridge Gerry, Massachusetts delegate to the Constitutional Convention, and signer of both The Declaration of Independence and the Articles of Confederation, rose to his feat during the constitutional debates for September 7, 1787 to oppose the motion that would appoint Vice Presidents under the proposed new system of government as ex-officio President of the Senate, with tie-breaking voting powers.

Mr. Gerry, who ironically would serve as fifth Vice President of the United States (1813-1814) under U.S. President James Madison, said:

We might as well put the President himself at the head of the Legislature. The close intimacy that must subsist between the President and Vice-President makes it absolutely improper. He was against having any vice President.

Gouverneur Morris, the delegate from Pennsylvania, probable author of the Constitution’s Preamble, and the conventions most frequent orator, responded to Gerry with this quip:

The vice president then will be the first heir apparent that ever loved his father.

Time would prove Morris right.


Liberty Letters are compiled and edited (with occasional commentary and explanatory notes) by Steve Farrell. Copyright © 2011 Steve Farrell and The Moral Liberal.


Steve Far­rell is one of the orig­i­nal pun­dits at Sil­ver Eddy Award Win­ner, (1999–2008), the author of the highly praised inspi­ra­tional novel “Dark Rose,” and Founder and Edi­tor in Chief of The Moral Liberal.

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