[George] Mason’s obvious legacy is in his contribution to America’s founding documents: the Declaration of Independence through the Virginia Declaration of Rights, the Constitution through his role at the Philadelphia Convention, and the Bill of Rights through his dogged opposition to a Constitution without one. Mason may have taken a circumscribed view of the rights he advocated — limiting the right of representation to white men or restricting freedom of the press to a ban on prior restraint — but he put words on paper that could be given more expansive meanings by later generations.
Continental Army general — one of Washington’s best; 1726—1783.
Continental Army officer, lawyer, politician, Vice President under Thomas Jefferson; killed Alexander Hamilton in a duel; 1756—1836.
Soldier, politician, New York governor, vice president under Jefferson and Madison; 1739—1812.
Washington’s aide-de-camp, lawyer, contributor to the Federalist Papers, Secretary of the Treasury; 1755/1757—1804.
Lawyer, diplomat, Continental congressman, first Chief Justice of the Supreme Court; 1745—1829.
New York merchant, signer of the Declaration of Independence; 1716—78.
New York lawyer, politician, signer of the Declaration of Independence; 1746—1813.
Irish-born Continental Army general, formerly a British officer; 1738—75.
Merchant, financier; helped draft then stylized the Constitution; 1752—1816.
Author, revolutionary, political philosopher; 1737—1809.
George Mason: Forgotten Founder (2006)