“Congress shall make no law respecting the establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof.”
Thus began the first of the Ten Amendments, or Bill of Rights, which were approved SEPTEMBER 25, 1789.
“The Father of the Bill of Rights” was George Mason of Virginia.George Mason was the richest man in Virginia, owning 15,000 acres.
When George Washington was chosen to be the Commander of the Continental Army, George Mason was drafted by the citizens of Virginia to fill Washington’s place in the Continental Congress. George Mason wrote the Virginia Declaration of Rights, which Jefferson drew from to write the Declaration of Independence.
George Mason stated before the General Court of Virginia:
“The laws of nature are the laws of God, whose authority can be superseded by no power on earth.”
George Mason’s phrase was mirrored by Jefferson’s:
“The laws of nature and nature’s God.”
At the Constitutional Convention, George Mason called for an end of the slave trade, desiring to immediately ban any more slaves from being brought into the into the country and that slavery should not spread into new states. He called slavery a “slow poison” and argued for the gradual emancipation of all slaves.
On August 22, 1787, George Mason stated:
“Every master of slaves is born a petty tyrant. They bring the judgment of heaven upon a country. As nations cannot be rewarded or punished in the next world, they must be in this. By an inevitable chain of causes and effects, Providence punishes national sins, by national calamities.”
George Mason argued in favor of citizens being armed, as he stated at Virginia’s Ratifying Convention, 1788 (3 Elliot, Debates at 380):
“When the resolution of enslaving America was formed in Great Britain, the British Parliament was advised…to disarm the people; that it was the best and most effectual way to enslave them; but that they should not do it openly, but weaken them, and let them sink gradually, by totally disusing and neglecting the militia.”