George Mason

(December 11, 1725October 7, 1725)

George Mason was a United States patriot,, statesman, and delegate from Virginia to the U.S. Constitutional Convention. He is called the "Father of the Bill of Rights". For all of these reasons he is considered to be one of the "Founding Fathers" of the United States.

Mason wrote the Virginia Declaration of Rights, which detailed specific rights of citizens. In addition to anti-federalist Patrick Henry, he was later a leader of those who pressed for the addition of explicitly stated individual rights as part of the U.S. Constitution, and did not sign the document mainly because it did not contain such a statement. His efforts eventually succeeded in convincing the Federalists to modify the Constitution and add the Bill of Rights (the first ten amendments of the Constitution). The Bill of Rights is based on Mason's earlier Virginia Declaration of Rights.

Although a slave owner, Mason favored the abolition of the slave trade. He once referred to slavery as "that slow poison, which is daily contaminating the minds and morals of our people." However, he spoke out against including any mention of slavery in the Constitution — whether from an abolitionist or anti-abolitionist standpoint.

George Mason 01

George Mason 01
No free government of the blessings of liberty, can be preserved to any people but by a firm adherence to justice, moderation, temperance, frugality, and virtue, and by frequent recurrence to...

George Mason 02

George Mason 02
To disarm the people is the best and most effectual way to enslave them.

George Mason 03

George Mason 03
I ask sir, what is the militia? It is the whole people except for a few public officials.

George Mason 04

George Mason 04
No free government of the blessings of liberty, can be preserved to any people but by a firm adherence to justice, moderation, temperance, frugality, and virtue, and by frequent recurrence to...

George Mason 05

George Mason 05
That all power is vested in and consequently derived from the people; that magistrates are their trustees and servants, and at all times amenable to them.

George Mason 06

George Mason 06
To disarm the people is the best and most effectual way to enslave them.


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