Dreisbach The contributions of Thomas Jefferson and James Madison to religious liberty in Virginia and the new nation are exhaustively chronicled and rightly celebrated. George Masonby contrast, has received neither the credit nor the attention given his more famous contemporaries for his unwavering devotion to the cause of religious rights. He was the principal draftsman of Article XVI of the Virginia Declaration of Rights, a seminal, post-colonial statement on the rights of conscience.
States Mason made the longest trip of his life when he attended the federal Constitutional Convention in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, in He recognized the need to replace the Articles of Confederation and to give Congress the power to levy taxes and to regulate foreign and interstate trade.
He initially supported the Virginia Planwhich had been drafted by his fellow Virginian James Madison. Individual members brought different concerns to the convention. Mason feared a new Congress might adopt an American navigation law giving a monopoly to northern shippers.
He wanted to ensure that southern planters had the ability to shop for the best rates for tobacco bound for European markets; at one point he persuaded the convention to require a two-thirds majority to adopt laws regulating foreign commerce. The other delegates worried much more about the allocation of seats in Congress.
A split between large and small states threatened to wreck the convention. Mason served on a committee that proposed a solution. In what came to be known as "the Great Compromise," the committee proposed that seats in the United States House of Representatives be based on population, while each state would enjoy equal representation in the Senate.
The convention approved the compromise over the opposition of a majority of the Virginia delegates, including Madison. New England and South Carolina delegates, he believed, reached an agreement to abandon the two-thirds requirement for trade regulations in exchange for a constitutional provision continuing the foreign slave trade until, at first,and, in the course of the debates, until The apparent deal appalled Mason.
Although Mason owned dozens of slaves himself, he had repeatedly condemned the institution. He saw no easy way to abolish slavery where it was already well entrenched, but felt that few vested interests would be disturbed by ending the foreign slave trade.
On August 31, Mason proclaimed he "would sooner chop off his right hand than put it to the Constitution as it now stands. On September 12, he offered to draft a bill of rights for the new Constitution.
Some critics then and since have questioned his motives, suspecting he wanted to sabotage the convention by leading it into a legal morass. But Mason had long been devoted to protecting civil liberties, and his argument that the people would expect the Constitution to include a bill of rights proved prophetic.
Bust of George Mason Mason stayed in Philadelphia until the convention adjourned on September 17, but he refused to sign the Constitution.
Before he left Philadelphia, he drafted a document titled "Objections to the Constitution," explaining his position. He began with the complaint that "there is no Declaration of Rights. The debate over the Constitution deeply divided Virginians.
He won, and at the Richmond convention ofhe shared leadership of the Anti-Federalist forces with Patrick Henry. The convention voted 89 to 79 to approve the Constitution, but also recommended that Congress consider numerous amendments.
Mason doubted that Congress would approve meaningful revisions, and he largely retired from public life after the convention. He was, however, partially reconciled to the new government when James Madison shepherded a series of amendments through the first session of the new Congress, and Mason deserves credit for helping create the political momentum that led to the adoption of what became the federal Bill of Rights.
He died at Gunston Hall on October 7, June - George Mason loses the Fairfax County election for House of Burgesses, coming in fourth out of five candidates.A Biography of George Mason In George Mason was born to George and Ann Thomson Mason. When the boy was 10 years old his father died, and young George's upbringing was left in the care of his uncle, John Mercer.
Perfect for Teachers. George Mason and the Bill of Rights This film on Mason's life and political contributions is now available as a DVD. Best suited for grades 4 and up. Purchase a copy DVD or video also may be borrowed free . George Mason: Father of the Bill of Rights.
Without the Bill of Rights, the Constitution might have restrained nothing For not only did Mason make an important immediate contribution to the Declaration of Independence, but he also anticipated in general the structure and principles of government contained in the Constitution of the United.
Oct 05, · Human Resources and Payroll George Mason University Reward and Recognition. Makes lasting and unique contributions to Mason to enhance the life for faculty, students and staff. Embodies the mission and values of the university community.
Nomination Form: Team Excellence Award. Mason was a plantation owner whose residence was Gunston Hall, a handsome Georgian brick home located in close proximity to Mount Vernon, former home of George Washington, a neighbor and close friend for all but the last years of his life.
A prominent figure in his home state and one whose counsel was greatly valued by others of his . George Mason was an American patriot who participated in the American Revolution and the Constitutional Convention and who was influential in penning the Born: Dec 11,