[Daily article] December 11: George Mason

George Mason (December 11, 1725 – October 7, 1792) was a Virginia
planter, politician, and delegate to the U.S. Constitutional Convention
of 1787, one of three men who refused to sign. He served in the pro-
independence Fourth Virginia Convention of 1775 and the Fifth Virginia
Convention of 1776, during which he wrote much of the Virginia
Declaration of Rights; this later served as a basis for the Bill of
Rights, of which he has been deemed the father. Named one of his state’s
delegates to the 1787 Constitutional Convention, Mason traveled to
Philadelphia, his only lengthy trip outside Virginia, and was active in
the convention for months before deciding he could not sign the final
draft. Although he lost his fight to add a bill of rights there, and
again at the Virginia Ratifying Convention of 1788, his efforts led his
fellow Virginian James Madison to introduce one during the First
Congress in 1789, and it was ratified in 1791, a year before Mason died.
Long obscure, Mason is today recognized for his contributions to the
founding texts of Virginia and the United States.

Read more:

Today’s selected anniversaries:


Emperor Xian abdicated the throne and the Han dynasty broke
apart, beginning the Three Kingdoms period in China.


Second Boer War: In the Battle of Magersfontein, Boers defeated
the forces of the British Empire trying to relieve the Siege of


In support of the December Uprising in Moscow, the Council of
Workers’ Deputies of Kiev stage a mass uprising, establishing the
Shuliavka Republic (monument pictured) in the city.


The United States Congress enacted the Comprehensive
Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act to protect
people, families, communities and others from heavily contaminated toxic
waste sites that have been abandoned.


The first action in the Mexican Drug War took place as
President Felipe Calderón ordered Mexican military and Federal Police
units into the state of Michoacán.

Wiktionary’s word of the day:

hedge sermon:
(Christianity, historical) An open-air religious service held by
Calvinists in the Low Countries during the Reformation, typically in
rural areas beyond the reach of civic authorities.

Wikiquote quote of the day:

  The freedom of the press is one of the great bulwarks of liberty,
and can never be restrained but by despotic governments.  
–George Mason

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