Matthew Pratt (1734—1805)

by Matthew Pratt (1734—1805)

Oil on canvas; 30 1/4 x 25 1/8 in (76.8 x 63.8 cm). Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts, Philadelphia, PA.

by Matthew Pratt (1734—1805)

Oil on canvas; 30 3/16 x 25 1/4 in (76.7 x 64.1 cm). Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts, Philadelphia, PA.

by Matthew Pratt (1734—1805)

Oil on canvas; 36 x 50 1/4 in. (91.4 x 127.6 cm). The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, NY.

by Matthew Pratt (1734—1805)

Oil on canvas; 39 3/16 x 32 1/16 in (99.5 x 81.4 cm). Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts, Philadelphia, PA.

[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.

Jeff Broadwater
George Mason: Forgotten Founder (2006)