The Resource 1776
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- Transcript, dated 1776, of the first draft of the Virginia Declaration of Rights, written by George Mason (1725-1792) of Fairfax County, Virginia. A final draft of the declaration was incorporated into the state constitution of 1776 and retained in all subsequent state constitutions. It is the model for the first ten amendments to the federal Constitution and for other state constitutions. The identity of the transcriber of this copy is unknown
- Biographical or historical data
- George Mason of "Gunston Hall" in Fairfax County, Virginia, was born 11 December 1725. He married first Ann Eilback (1734-1773) 4 April 1750, and second Sarah Brent (1728-1794) 11 April 1780. Mason represented Fairfax County in the House of Burgesses from 1758 to 1761; in the 3rd, 4th and 5th Virginia Conventions from 1775-1776; and in the House of Delegates from 1776 to 1781 and 1786 to 1788. In the 5th Virginia Convention, Mason was appointed to the committee which wrote Virginia's first state constitution. Mason authored the Virginia Declaration of Rights, which has appeared in every subsequent state constitution. Mason attended the federal Constitutional Convention in 1787, but did not sign the document because it did not have a bill of rights at the time. This lack of a bill of rights also led to his opposition to the Constitution during the Virginia ratification convention in 1788. When the Bill of Rights was finally added to the federal Consitution, it was based on his Declaration of Rights. George Mason died at Gunston Hall, in Fairfax County, 7 October 1792.
- Cataloging source
- Form designation
- Draft of the Virginia Declaration of Rights
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