Mason, George


Mason, George
born 1725, Fairfax county, Va.
died Oct. 7, 1792, Fairfax county, Va., U.S.

American Revolutionary statesman.

The owner of a large plantation, he became active in efforts to promote the westward expansion of the colonies. In 1774 he helped his neighbour George Washington draft the Fairfax Resolves (1774), which called for a boycott of English goods. In 1776 he drafted the Virginia state constitution and the Virginia Declaration of Rights, which influenced Thomas Jefferson and was used as a model by other states. A member of the Virginia House of Delegates (1776–88), he attended the Constitutional Convention but did not sign the Constitution of the United States, which he believed granted large and indefinite powers to the central government.

George Mason, detail of an oil painting by L. Guillaume after a portrait by J. Hesselius; in the ...

By courtesy of the Virginia Historical Society

* * *

▪ United States statesman
born 1725, Fairfax County, Va.
died Oct. 7, 1792, Fairfax County, Va., U.S.

      American patriot and statesman who insisted on the protection of individual liberties in the composition of both the Virginia and U.S. Constitutions (1776, 1787); he was ahead of his time in opposing slavery and in rejecting the constitutional compromise that perpetuated it.

      As a landowner and near neighbour of George Washington, Mason took a leading part in local affairs. He also became deeply interested in Western expansion and was active in the Ohio Company, organized in 1749 to develop trade and sell land on the upper Ohio River. At about the same time, Mason helped to found the town of Alexandria, Va. Because of ill health and family problems, he generally eschewed public office, though he accepted election to the House of Burgesses in 1759. Except for his membership in the Constitutional Convention at Philadelphia, this was the highest office he ever held—yet few men did more to shape U.S. political institutions.

      A leader of the Virginia patriots on the eve of the American Revolution (1775–83), Mason served on the Committee of Safety and in 1776 drafted the state constitution, his declaration of rights being the first authoritative formulation of the doctrine of inalienable rights. Mason's work was known to Thomas Jefferson (Jefferson, Thomas) and influenced his drafting of the Declaration of Independence. The model was soon followed by most of the states and was also incorporated in diluted form in the federal Constitution. He served as a member of the Virginia House of Delegates from 1776 to 1788.

      As a member of the Constitutional Convention, Mason strenuously opposed the compromise permitting the continuation of the slave trade until 1808. Although he was a Southerner, Mason castigated the trade as “disgraceful to mankind”; he favoured manumission and education for bondsmen and supported a system of free labour. Because he also objected to the large and indefinite powers vested in the new government, he joined several other Virginians in opposing adoption of the new document. A Jeffersonian Republican, he believed that local government should be kept strong and central government weak. His criticism helped bring about the adoption of the Bill of Rights to the Constitution.

      Soon after the Convention, Mason retired to his home, Gunston Hall.

* * *


Universalium. 2010.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • Mason,George — Mason, George. 1725 1792. American Revolutionary politician from Virginia. A member of the Constitutional Convention (1787), he voiced criticism that resulted in the drafting of the Bill of Rights. His grandson James Murray Mason (1798 1871) was… …   Universalium

  • Mason, George — (1725, cond. de Fairfax, Va.–7 oct. 1792, cond. de Fairfax, Va., EE.UU.). Estadista de la independencia de los Estados Unidos de América. Fue propietario de una plantación extensa y participó en iniciativas para promover la expansión de las… …   Enciclopedia Universal

  • George W. Mason — George Walter Mason (March 121891 October 91954) was an American industrialist. During his career Mason served as the Chairman and CEO of the Kelvinator Corporation (1928 1937), Chairman and CEO of the Nash Kelvinator Corporation (1937 1954), and …   Wikipedia

  • George Mason (Personnage de 24) — George Mason est un personnage fictif de la série américaine 24 heures chrono. On a pu le voir dans les saisons 1 et 2. Il a un grade élevé à la cellule et il est apprécié (contrairement à Ryan Chappelle). Le téléspectateur se rapproche de lui… …   Wikipédia en Français

  • George Mason (TV) — George Mason (personnage de 24) George Mason est un personnage fictif de la série américaine 24 heures chrono. On a pu le voir dans les saisons 1 et 2. Il a un grade élevé à la cellule et il est apprécié (contrairement à Ryan Chappelle). Le… …   Wikipédia en Français

  • George mason (personnage de 24) — George Mason est un personnage fictif de la série américaine 24 heures chrono. On a pu le voir dans les saisons 1 et 2. Il a un grade élevé à la cellule et il est apprécié (contrairement à Ryan Chappelle). Le téléspectateur se rapproche de lui… …   Wikipédia en Français

  • George W. Mason — George Walter Mason, (* 12. März 1891 in Valley City (North Dakota); † 9. Oktober 1954 in Detroit (Michigan)) war ein US amerikanischer Industrieller. Er war Vorstandsvorsitzender und Präsident von Kelvinator (1928 1937), Nash Kelvinator… …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • George Mason — (* 11. Dezember 1725 bei Pasbytanzy, Virginia; † 7. Oktober 1792 in Gunston Hall, Fairfax County, Virginia) war ein US amerikanischer Politiker und Großgrundbesitzer, der auch als „Vater der Bill of Rights“ bezeichnet wird …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • George Mason (Virginia) — George Mason, Virginia Lugar designado por el censo de los Estados Unidos …   Wikipedia Español

  • George E. Badger — George Edmund Badger George Edmund Badger (* 17. April 1795 in New Bern, North Carolina; † 11. Mai 1866 in Raleigh, North Carolina) war ein US amerikanischer Politiker (Whig Party), der als …   Deutsch Wikipedia