Cory Bowen

George Mason: Background

George Mason was born December 11, 1725 in Fairfax County (Dogue's Neck). When he was ten years old his mother died and he was left in the care of his uncle who had a library full of law books that interested George Mason and influenced his future roles in governmental affairs. When George Mason came of age he gained rights to Gunston Hall and became one of the richest planters in Virginia, who did not support slavery, but he owned slaves. in the 1750s he worked at a local public service job in Alexandria, but soon was elected to be in the House of Burgesses in 1759 where he made the non-importation agreement, because of the stamp act and the townshend acts. His many works influenced the documents that are still in effect today. After the American Revolution he became a strong anti-federalist until the Bill of Rights was added to the U.S Constitution. He died October 7, 1792 in Fairfax Country.

George Masons impact on the U.S Government

  • George Mason wrote the Virginia Declaration of Rights which influenced many American documents such as the Declaration of Independence, Bill of Rights, and more. It served as a model to the first part of the Declaration of Independence, and was the basis for the Federal constitution's Bill of Rights. These Federal documents are still the core of our government today, with the Constitution being the supreme law of the land.
  • He outlined a plan that turned into a land cession act that created the North West territory in 1780.
  • George Mason was appointed as delegate to revise the Articles of Confederation where he proposed the three-person presidency with each vice president chosen by region, to avoid monarchy or political corruption.
  • He also proposed the and strongly advocated the bicameral legislature and for United States senators to be elected by state legislatures.
  • He lead the anti-federalist faction to oppose the ratification of the constitution until the Bill of Rights was added to it and still never signed it.
  • His works heavily influenced the U.S Constitution, with the Bill of Rights, which was based on the Declaration of Rights, as the first ten amendments. He also heavily influenced the eleventh amendment, which changed how the judiciary system worked under the Constitution.

Committee of Five presenting their Declaration of Independence draft.

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George Mason's other accomplishments

  • In 1759 he was elected into the House of Burgesses, where he imposed many economical hardships on the British with the non-importation act and the persuasion of the British merchants to oppose the stamp tax due to the many taxes imposed on the Colonists (Stamp Act, Townshend acts, etc.).
  • He played an organizational role for the Virginia patriots and worked to defend Virginia from British attack. He disestablished the Anglican Church which showed his heavy dissatisfaction with British culture.
  • His work, The Virginia Declaration of Rights was placed into Article one of Virginia's state constitution.
  • In 1776 Mason's drafts of the Declaration of Rights and constitution served as a model for the other colonial state governments.
  • From the Extracts of the Virginia Charter, George Mason helped fix the Anglo-American land boundary at the Great Lakes and not at the Ohio River. After that he ceded Virginia's western land to the United States Government.

Virginia State Constitution.

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"A Biography of George Mason 1725-1792." American History: From Revolution to Reconstruction and Beyond. N.p., n.d. Web. 24 Sept. 2015.

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1st United States Congress. Bill of Rights. Digital Image. File:Bill of Rights Pg1of1 AC.jpg. Wikimedia Commons. Web. 25 Sept. 2015.

Various. Non-importation agreement. Digital Image. File:Houghton 42-5288 – non- importation agreement, 1767.jpg. Wikimedia Commons. 25 Sept. 2015.

Hesselius, John. George Mason. Digital Image. File: George Mason.jpg. Wikimedia Commons. Web. 27 Sept. 2015

Trumball, John. Declaration of Independence. Digital Image. File:Declaration of Independence.jpg. Wikimedia Commons. Web. 27 Sept. 2015.

Shepherd, Samuel and Co., Richmond VA. Constitution of Virginia, Page 1. Digital Image. File:1820constitution01.jpg. Wikimedia Commons. Web. 27 Sept. 2015

Wikipedia contributors. "George Mason." Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia. Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia, 28 Sep. 2015. Web. 28 Sep. 2015.