George Mason, Forgotten Founder by Jeff Broadwater

By Jeff Broadwater

George Mason (1725-92) is frequently passed over from the small circle of founding fathers celebrated this present day, yet in his provider to the US he was once, within the phrases of Thomas Jefferson, "of the 1st order of greatness." Jeff Broadwater offers a finished account of Mason's existence on the middle of the momentous occasions of eighteenth-century the United States.

Mason performed a key function within the Stamp Act difficulty, the yankee Revolution, and the drafting of Virginia's first kingdom structure. he's might be most sensible referred to as writer of the Virginia announcement of Rights, a rfile frequently hailed because the version for the invoice of Rights.

As a Virginia delegate to the Constitutional conference in Philadelphia, Mason prompted the rising structure on element after element. but while he was once rebuffed in his efforts so as to add a invoice of rights and concluded the record did too little to guard the pursuits of the South, he refused to signal the ultimate draft. Broadwater argues that Mason's recalcitrance used to be no longer the act of an remoted dissenter; relatively, it emerged from the ideology of the yankee Revolution. Mason's matters concerning the abuse of political energy, Broadwater indicates, went to the essence of the yankee experience.

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64 A new lieutenant governor, Robert Dinwiddie, arrived in Williamsburg on 20 November 1751 and almost immediately became a member of the Ohio Company. ”65 In fairness to Dinwiddie, if the Ohio Company expected favors from the new lieutenant governor, he disappointed them. 66 Dinwiddie did, however, move to address one problem that plagued Mason and his associates, the continuing hostility of the Iroquois to further English settlement. In the summer of 1752 Dinwiddie convened a conference with the Indians at Logstown, an Indian village about eighteen miles south of present-day Pittsburgh.

He offered to make “some further satisfactions” to the Delawares, Iroquois allies who hunted along the Ohio but did not consider themselves bound by the Treaty of Lancaster. Because Mason believed the Iroquois had relinquished their claims to the land in the Lancaster treaty, there was nothing disingenuous in his offer to make land available to individual Indians. ” The Indians, Mason wrote, should “enjoy the same privileges . . ”67 The company’s efforts at Logstown met with only partial success.

Given Great Britain’s limited suffrage and grossly malapportioned electoral districts, virtual representation was an almost plausible explanation of how the House of Commons functioned in the British Isles. But it made no sense to Americans, whose formative experiences had been with colonial legislatures in which they were actually, not virtually, represented. However selfserving the American logic may have been, it was not without foundation. William Pitt, who had served brilliantly as head of the government during the French and Indian War, recognized the distinction between legislation, which did not require popular consent, and taxation, which did.

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