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George Mason
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Patriot
    (December 11, 1725-October 7, 1792)
    Born in Fairfax County, Virginia
    Full name was George Mason IV
    Wrote the Fairfax Resolves challenging the authority of British Parliament over the American colonies (1774)
    Drafted the state constitution and Virginia Declaration of Rights (1776)
    Delegate to the US Constitutional Convention (1787)
    Known as 'the father of the Bill of Rights'
    He frequently tried to avoid political offices by claiming to be too ill to serve.
    Like Thomas Jefferson, he wrote a lot about how evil slavery was while doing nothing to free the slaves he owned.
    His friendship with George Washington ended over his refusal to sign the Constitution.
    Partly because of his opposition to the Constitution, he was less remembered than other founding fathers.
    Although he had little formal education, Philip Mazzei called him a genius comparable to Dante and Newton.
    Three of his children died in infancy.
    The Declaration of Independence was influenced by the first article of his Virginia Declaration of Rights ('all Men are born equally free and independent, and have certain inherent natural Rights... among which are the Enjoyment of Life and Liberty, with the Means of acquiring and possessing Property, and pursueing [sic] and obtaining Happiness and Safety').
    He wanted the Constitution to ban the further importation of slaves and to prevent slavery from spreading to additional states.
    With Patrick Henry and others, he created the political momentum that led to the adoption of the Bill of Rights.
    The Bill of Rights was based on his Virginia Declaration of Rights.

Credit: C. Fishel


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