Securing the People’s Liberties: George Mason,

James Madison, and the Idea of a Bill of Rights

JEFF BROADWATER

The lecture is free and open to the public

When George Mason wrote one of the first Anti-Federalist

attacks on the U.S. Constitution, he began his list of grievances

with the complaint, “There is no Declaration of Rights.” As the primary author of Virginia’s

landmark bill of rights, Mason commanded considerable credibility, and the Constitution’s

failure to guarantee certain fundamental liberties became its most vulnerable point. The

Constitution nevertheless won ratification, but opposition to the new government lingered.

To reassure skeptics, James Madison introduced in the first Congress amendments that

eventually became the Bill of Rights. This lecture will explore how the idea for a bill of

rights evolved from a political statement of broad republican principles to a specific set of

judicially enforceable personal freedoms.

 

Wednesday, November 9, 2016

Noon-1:00 p.m.

Fenwick Library, Main Reading Room

George Mason University