George Mason’s Call for a Bill of Rights

James Madison's Notes of the Convention for September 12, 1787

from James Madison’s Notes of Debates in the Federal Convention, September 12, 1787

Col: MASON perceived the difficulty mentioned by Mr. Gorham. The jury cases can not be specified. A general principle laid down on this and some other points would be sufficient. He wished the plan had been prefaced with a Bill of Rights, & would second a Motion if made for the purpose. It would give great quiet to the people; and with the aid of the State declarations, a bill might be prepared in a few hours.

Mr. GERRY concurred in the idea & moved for a Committee to prepare a Bill of Rights.

Col: MASON 2ded. the motion.

Mr. SHERMAN, was for securing the rights of the people where requisite. The State Declarations of Rights are not repealed by this Constitution; and being in force are sufficient. There are many cases where juries are proper which can not be discriminated. The Legislature may be safely trusted.

Col: MASON. The Laws of the U. S. are to be paramount to State Bills of Rights.

On the question for a Come. to prepare a Bill of Rights

N.H. no. Mas. abst. Ct. no. N. J. no. Pa. no. Del no. Md. no. Va. no. N. C. no. S. C. no. Geo. no.

 

 

Contents

Introduction

Introductions, the documentary history of each amendment, and major themes about the adoption of the Bill of Rights.

From Political Liberty to Social Freedom

Using artwork, see how the idea of rights has changed throughout American history.

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Documentary Origins and Politics of the Bill of Rights

Interactive chart showing the origins of each of the rights in the Bill of Rights.

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