Raechel Tomlin

George Mason

He was an American legislator,planter, Revolutionary statesman, and constitutionalist, was the fourth of his name and line in Virginia. He lived from 1725 - Oct. 7, 1792.


  • He was well known for the master of Gunston Hall, built on the Potomac River below Alexandria (1755-1758)
  • 1769 he drafted the non-importation agreement introduced in the assembly by George Washington
  • In July 1775 he succeeded Washington in the Virginia Convention
  • His criticism of the Articles of Confederation led to the creation of the Bill of Rights
  • He advocated a strong local government and a weak central government which led to the Bill of Rights

How did Mason impact the development of the U.S government?

Contributions and Influences


  • He helped to found the town of Alexandria, Virginia.
  • he was a member of the Constitutional Convention and strongly opposed the compromise which permitted the continuation of the slave trade in the United States until 1808. Mason was a southerner but he considered the slave trade "disgraceful to man kind"


  • He was a member of the may 1776 convention; framed the Virginia Bill of Rights and the constitution. This writings had a wide influence: Thomas Jefferson drew on it in drafting the first part of the Declaration of Independence. The Virginia Bill of Rights was copied in many states. It was the basis for the first 10 amendments to the U.S constitution and it also had influenced the French Revolution
  • He was one of three of the forty two delegates to the constitutional convention of 1787 in Philadelphia who refused to sign the final draft. His views were expressed in "objections to This Constitution of Governement," which was widely read and influenced the structure of other anti federalist writings
  • In 1774 mason wrote the Fairfax Resolves which his neighbor and friend, George Washington, introduced to the House of Burgessses on July 18, 1774. This was intended to defend our constitutional rights that we still have today and to also set forth our fundamental principles.
  • The Virginia Declaration of Rights has been called "the most influential constitutional document in American history" it's influence has extended not only to the Declaration of Independence, but also to many state constitutions and the federal Bill of Rights, the first 10 amendments to the United States Constitution. The declaration's influence can be seen in the French Declaration of Rigjts of Man and of the Citizen (1789). In fact members of the French Assembly frequently consulted with Thomas Jefferson. Jefferson himself had drawn heavily on the Virginia Declaration. The influence of the Virginia Declaration continues to this day as a goal toward which many people aspire. This is what has shaped our government into what we have today. Everyone has equal rights. Example: freedom of speech

Background Information

When he was 10, Mason's father died. He was brought up in part by his uncle, John Mercer, who reportedly had a 1,500-volume library, which had an influential effect on Mason. A local landowner (and neighbor of George Washington), Mason began taking interest in local affairs at an early age. When he was 23, he ran in an election for a seat in the House of Burgesses but lost.


Citations for research

Bellesiles, Michael. "George Mason." Encyclopedia of the American Revolution: Library of Military History. Ed. Harold E. Selesky. Detroit: Charles Scribner's Sons, 2006. Biography in Context. Web. 22 Sept. 2015.

Branson, Margaret S. "George Mason: The Reluctant Founder." Center for Civic Education. N.p., n.d. Web.

Estrin, Jonathan. "A Bill of Rights -- Then, and Now." Could We Find Wise Leaders Today Who Would Put aside Politics for the Good of the Country? Jonathan Estrin and Marshall Croddy, 15 Dec. 2009. Web.

“George Mason." Dictionary of American Biography. New York: Charles Scribner's Sons, 1936. Biography in Context. Web. 22 Sept. 2015.

"George Mason Bio." N.p., n.d. Web.

Citations for images

Percy, Marmaduke. George Mason Portrait. Digital Image. Wikimedia. MarmadukePercy. 25 March 2010.

Taft, Louise T. George Mason House in the Willard Historic District. Digital Image. Wikimedia. Library of Congress. July 1985

Jones, David. Bill of Rights. Digital Image. Flicker. Jones, David. 7 September 2008

Constitutional Convention. Constitution We the People. Digital Image. Wikimedia.

Wikimedia Commor. 3 August 2010

Wikimedia. List of Presidents in the United States by date of birth. Digital Image. Wikimedia. Wikimedia Commor. 31 August 2015