When I was a kid, beginning to learn what it is to be an American, I found a hero in George Mason, a leading Virginia delegate to the 1787 Constitutional Convention. Mason refused to sign on to the Constitution that was passed by the convention. Why?“There is no Declaration of Rights,” he explained.
There was no section in the Constitution protecting citizens’ individual rights against an imperious government in this new America — similar to the charges Thomas Jefferson made against King George III’s government in our Declaration of Independence in 1776.
George Mason’s contagious objections became a major reason that the first 10 amendments, the Bill of Rights, were finally listed and ratified by enough states to be added to the Constitution in 1791.
And we still proudly have them! Or do we? As George W. Bush, Dick Cheney and Barack Obama have eroded our guarantees of a self-governing republic, how many Americans are aware they are losing some of the liberties guaranteed in the Bill of Rights? How many Americans even know who George Mason was?
Go read the whole thing.