John Ramage (1748—1802)

by John Ramage (1748—1802)

Watercolor on ivory; 1 3/4 x 1 3/8 in. (4.4 x 3.5 cm). The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, NY.

[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)