Author of the Virginia Declaration of Rights
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  • George Mason

    George Mason (sometimes referred to as George Mason IV; 11 December 1725 [O.S. 30 November 1725] - 7 October 1792) was a Virginia planter and politician, and a delegate to the U.S. Constitutional Convention of 1787, one of three delegates, together with fellow Virginian Edmund Randolph and Elbridge Gerry of Massachusetts, who refused to sign the constitution. His writings have been a significant influence on political thought and events, including substantial portions of the Fairfax Resolves of 1774, the Virginia Declaration of Rights of 1776, and his Objections to this Constitution of Government (1787) in opposition to ratification of the constitution. The Virginia Declaration of Rights, which Mason principally authored, served as a basis for the United States Bill of Rights, of which he has been deemed the father.

    George Mason University


    Mason, George (1725-1792), by Robert M. S. McDonald, The Encyclopedia of Libertarianism, 15 Aug 2008
    Biographical essay
    "George Mason was a Virginia planter and statesman of the American revolutionary era. He was a firm proponent of limited government who used his influence as the holder of government offices to reduce its reach. ... as a Virginia delegate to the Constitutional Convention in Philadelphia, Mason occasionally bickered with Madison's proposals for a more robust national government. Like Jefferson, he considered the office of president under the proposed constitution too powerful and balked at the absence of a declaration of specific rights retained by states and individuals."

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    11 Dec 1725, in Fairfax County, Virginia


    7 Oct 1792, in Gunston Hall, Mason Neck, Virginia


    A Biography of George Mason 1725-1792
    from National Archives and Records Administration, America's Founding Fathers pages

    Web Pages

    George Mason - Libertarian
    Advocates for Self-Government


    George Mason and Individual Rights, by Willie E. Nelms, The Freeman, Sep 1977
    "... Mason reached a high point in his career in 1776 when he met in Williamsburg with other Virginians to develop a new revolutionary government. It was here that he drafted the Virginia Declaration of Rights. A remarkable document, this paper expressed Mason's view of the basic rights of all men."
    George Mason and the Bills of Rights, by Gary Williams, The Freeman, May 1992
    Relates the life of George Mason, his primary role in writing the Virginia Bill of Rights and his opposition to ratifying the U.S. Constitution
    "For Mason, the last straw came on September 12, 1787, when his proposal to include a bill of rights in the new Constitution was defeated 10 states to none. ... Mason was one of the leaders in the fight against ratification of the new Constitution. ... Foremost among Mason's objections was that 'there is no Declaration of Rights ...'"
    Individual Liberty and Limited Government: Walter E. Williams and The Spirit Of George Mason [PDF], by Michael D. White, 24 May 1993
    Introduction to the 1993 Frank M. Engle Lecture, "The Legitimate Role of Government in a Free Economy", delivered by Walter Williams at The American College
    "A little over 200 years ago, George Mason was a Virginia delegate to the Constitutional Convention held in Philadelphia. Although many Americans do not readily recall much about him, George Mason was among this country's most influential Founding Fathers. ... An ardent believer in liberty and a republican form of government, he authored much of Virginia's constitution and wrote the State's Declaration of Rights, adopted in May 1776."
    The Revolution's Forgotten Hero, by David A. Merrick, Future of Freedom, Dec 2003
    "Most people know only that he participated in the Constitutional Convention of 1787 and that he was one of those who refused to sign the first draft of the U.S. Constitution. Very few know it was Mason who was the first to draft a written constitution that included man's inherent right to life, liberty, and the freedom to pursue and obtain happiness."


    The Virginia Declaration of Rights, 12 Jun 1776
    Related Topic: Virginia
    The Virginia Declaration of Rights (first draft), 26 May 1776
    Related Topic: Virginia

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    By the way, did you realize that George Mason ..., by Jeff Danziger, 28 Mar 2006

    The introductory paragraph uses material from a Wikipedia article, which is released under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share-Alike License 3.0.