Who was George Mason?

I had never heard of George Mason before his namesake took down Michigan State in the first round of the NCAA basketball tournament last week, and I didn’t give him much thought until the Patriots beat North Carolina in the next round, thoroughly wrecking the D.C. region of my bracket. We all now know that the university has a basketball team, but what did this Mason guy do to earn the name of the school?

George Mason was a statesman from Virginia who wrote the Virginia Declaration of Rights, which specifically outlined the rights of citizens. In 1787, he was sent to Philadelphia to represent his colony at the Constitutional Convention. Although he played a major role in shaping the document, he refused to sign it without inclusion of a clear statement of citizens’ rights. After the Convention, Mason caused enough trouble to disrupt his friendship with George Washington, but he was ultimately vindicated as the Bill of Rights, largely based on his earlier Virginian document, was ratified in 1791. For this reason, Mason is known as the “Father of the Bill of Rights.”

Thanks to Wikipedia, as always.

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