Blueprint for American Rights: George Mason’s Declaration

Nov 24, 2020
George Mason may be one of the lesser-known Founding Fathers, but his role in shaping the philosophical thought and legal documents of the United States is hard to overstate. Mason’s Virginia Declaration of Rights is argued to be the blueprint for three of America’s founding documents: the Declaration of Independence, the Constitution, and the Bill of Rights.
Three experts, Senator Mike Lee, Professor of Law Joyce Lee Malcolm, and author William Hyland, Jr., dive into what makes George Mason such an interesting figure in American history in this short film, Blueprint for American Rights.

9 thoughts on “Blueprint for American Rights: George Mason’s Declaration

  1. With any of the founding fathers I apply that old 12-Step adage: “Take what you can use and leave the rest.” We know that in the end, most stayed connected to the king, got large land-grants, and generally enjoyed an aristocratic life while their politics were set on a course to erode our freedoms. Still, they left us some jewels, most evident in the 10 Articles of our Bill of Rights. So I don’t completely dismiss the founders and focus more on their contribution to my liberty, even with their consequent betrayal. It’s as if someone built me a wonderful house and then poisoned my garden. The house still houses me, but I gotta eat, so I fight for the garden.

    That said, I took great pleasure in learning of George Mason (thanks, Mary) and his fight to have The Bill of Rights included in our Constitution (another document that eventually went astray, 14th Amendment, and all). Mason somehow pulled it off and it’s what we have today, suppressed and ignored as it may be by those who would keep us unfree. But we are exhuming it from suppression and giving it new life. So, in some fundamental way I feel indebted to George Mason, for setting down the words and clarifying that we ALL have inherent rights that CANNOT be taken away.


    1. ps: In The Virginia Declaration of Rights… I like where it states “Pursuing and OBTAINING happiness.” It’s that word “obtaining” that stands out. It was as if Mason knew we couldn’t always just be chasin’ the dream, but our destiny was about actually making it happen. He saw past the enslavement to what true liberty would feel like: HAPPINESS!! Is it really out there? Years back I tasted some of it, so I KNOW it’s out there. Okay, another day of huntin’ down the happiness-destroyers. Ho-hum. And heave-ho!!


      1. It was a George Mason day, listening and learning. But it left me stirred up. So much respect that he penned most of The Bill of Rights, but then I learn he was a slave-owner. He did come to vehemently speak out against slavery citing it as one of the main reasons he wouldn’t sign The Constitution. Then I read his last will and testament and he wills his slaves to his children. None of what I’ve read about him so far reveals if that will was written before he decided to renounce owning slaves. But why did he never change his will? Could never respect ANYONE who tried to own another human being. Some might argue that it was the “custom” of the time he was born into, but that does not hold water. Wrong is wrong, even if most others are agreeing it’s right.


        1. Agreed. Wrong is wrong. Anyone who could feel the desire to own another human being is mentally deranged and a monster.
          All must be free or none can be. There can be no exception.

          1. Absolutely 100% agree
            All these ‘founders’ in my estimation thus far were the hijackers of the uprising of the common folk. How can anyone speak about liberty and mean it when they own another?

  2. everything boils down to slavery… or Hitler. the more they talk about it the less I believe it. they have never told us the truth about anything. why should slavery be any different? it’s the catch all.. if you lived in the 20th century you’re a Nazi. if you lived in the 18th century you’re a slave owner. I’m pretty sure throughout history.. if there is a real 100% hero for the people against the govt.. we’ve never been allowed to hear about him. every hero has one terrible insurmountable flaw.. how convenient!

  3. Withe Mason and The Bill of Rights, I guess the old adage is true: “Trust the poem if not the poet.” And what a poem The Bill of Rights is: It rhymes with freedom. 🙂


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