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tv   William Hyland George Mason  CSPAN  September 14, 2019 3:20pm-4:12pm EDT

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the southern festival of books in nashville. the following weekend the boston book festival welcomes over 300 speakers in the wisconsin book festival anticipates more than 15000 people and attendance. later in the month to name for the coverage of the texas book festival in austin. for more information of upcoming book first and festivals and to watch the previous festival coverage click the book fair tab on our website >> here's a quick look at the next three authors you will hear from a booktv in a moment william hyland discusses the life and influence of founding father george mason. after that sister helen reflects on her work as a social justice advocate. later french and european studies professor provides a history of the young members of the french resistance during world war ii. that is all coming up on c-span2 booktv check your program kind for more information.
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>> good afternoon and welcome to the national archives, and the archivist of the united states and it's a pleasure to have you with us. weather here in the theater or on facebook or youtube channels. in a special welcome tour c-span audience. before we hear from william hyland about george mason, i like to tell you about two other programs next month. on tuesday september 10 at noon the city of blumenthal will tell us about the release volume three of abraham lincoln all the powers of earth of 1856 to 1863. on monday september 16 at 7 the associate justice no portraits will tell us about his book a republic if you can keep it in
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which a simple aspects of the constitution and the importance of civic education and mutual respect. check her website at or sign up at the table outside to get e-mail updates and also information about other archives, programs and activities. another way to get more involved is to become a member of the national archives foundation the foundation that supports all education and activities. you can check out their website cry to learn more about the organization and to join online. upstairs in the rotunda the charters of freedom, to founding documents in the declaration of independence in the united states constitution. the central group represents those of the creation of the document. along with george washington, james mattis and benjamin
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franklin is george mason. one of the most frequent speakers at the constitutional convention but at the conclusion of the contusio convention, sep, mason did not sign the document. his primary objection, the lack of a declaration of individual rights led to the creation of the third charter in the rotunda the bill of rights. we look forward to hearing more about george mason critical role in the formation of our nation from his biographer william hyland. he is a native of virginia and the offer of four widely praised historical biographies including thomas jefferson which is nominated for the virginia literary award and also in journey with mr. jefferson in a biography of jefferson's historian do not alone in an intimate life with thomas jefferson. mr. hyland is a litigation
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attorney with nearly 30 years on high-profile trials experience. he is also a professor of law as destin university college of law and teachers the course of political science. his professional lectures included speeches at the national archives and colonial williamsburg foundation. of the virginia and new york society a board of directors of the thomas jefferson heritage society. please welcome william hyland junior. [applause] >> thank you and thank you to the archives for inviting me back, this is my third time back your and i enjoy my visit back your because i feel a closeness of history when it come back
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here. it really gives me chills to know that the three most important documents in our founding history are above us. the declaration of independence, the constitution of the united states and the bill of rights. i very much feel close to history when i come here. as he told you, i want to thank again for inviting me, i am a lawyer by practice and i always start off my speeches telling a story about lawyers even though george mason was not a lawyer he had a wealth of legal knowledge but he did not go to law school like jefferson and madison. this is a story that i want to tell about a lawyer, a doctor, a priest and a little boy. they were all on a small plane
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and together they developed a little engine and the pilot said were having trouble everyone has to be a everyone for himself, he grabbed a pair shoot and jumped out. the doctor grabbed the first parachute and said i'm a doctor, i save lives so i must live and jumped out the first parachute. the lawyer came along, lawyers are the most important people in the world, thus i'm asleep. grabbed a parachute and jumped out. the priest looked at the little boy and there's only one parachute left and said my son, i have lived a long and prosperous life. you had your whole life ahead of you. take the last pershing and take off. the boy turned to the priest and said no worries father, the smartest man in the world took off his backpack.
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let's talk about george mason. not a lot of people know about george mason. they basically know the george mason university and maybe the final four that they reached a few years ago but they had no idea who george mason is and i hope my book changes the opinion. what thomas jefferson was a genius both professionally and personally which he was then his mentor george mason was a near genius. america was woven together on three pieces of paper. the declaration of independence, the constitution and the bill of rights. george mason had a hand in formulating and writing the blueprints from all three
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documents. in 1776, mason emerged as the resolution area. he left a footprint as one of the ablest constitutionalist of all time. in his opinion mason became generally acknowledged as virginia's premier republican theorist even though he never attended college and law school and was self-taught in his uncles 1500 volume library in virginia. yet masons true enduring legacy was the creation of the american experiment, the nation's capacity to create hope in a world confused in fear. to some of his king writing is in opposing a compliment. yet in each instance his individual work was absorbed by a political coalition and lost to public fame.
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anonymity with a byproduct of the character of his historic work. it also became a matter of preference for mason. his advice to his sons was to refer the happiness and independence in a private station and of a public business. efforts of his colleagues to elect him to office were met on his part. his cool and detailed constitutional prorations hypnotized many elected audiences. as one scholar concluded, george mason was a thinker, an advisor rather than a publicist. my biography of mason is neither patriotic keys nor freefalling to mason idolatry. it's a broad portrait of mason
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in a world in which you live. while not scanty and his vibrant intellectual life, i tried to gather accounts that will bring this brilliant man to life for the public. the resulting portrait will offer a fresh and surprising interpretation even to those dispersed in the literature of the revolutionary period. i hope my book blended together the personal sides of mason's story. . . . >> when he has attended to have multi- volume biographies that are shown the other founders. but not the thing that is due
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him. every fact bearing upon the character and service amazing, whose visionary mental gift help create a model of government should receive a long greeting long warm greeting from the public and those whose are interested in the origins of individual freedom. mason grasped the conception of truth in liberty. his philosophy of the authority of the citizens to control the government was thorough and complete. his great labors are not as widely known or established in the public mind that some of the other founders. mason has shout blueprints for the declaration of independence which was his virginia direct relation of grace period was sent by one historian to have more wisdom and concentration of thought in one sentence of it than in all former writings on the subject. that is pretty powerful words.
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the little-known fact mason was personally responsible for the famous words, in the final version of jeffersons eloquent declaration of independence. life liberty and the pursuit of happyness were mason's own words. they were written to be a month before jefferson and his elegant version of the declaration of independence. mason added the word that the constitution given the power to put the player, not make work. when he also supplied the rates of aid and comfort in the definition of treason and when he wrote the famous words high crime and misdemeanors in the impeachment clause. most people don't know that. so long we put madison, mason also wrote major portions of the oath of office in the modern
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residency takes when sworn in today. i simply given the length and rest of mason's political writings and influence his name should be more recognized in the public domain and in the same context as we put thomas jefferson, james madison and alexander hamilton. mason's pragmatic mind mention constitutional and infuse them we put expensive life. turning abstract theory into government realities. mason never wavered on its cord tariffs conviction. individual rights and liberty over governmental power. yet both jefferson and madison change their views within the political climate at the time. suffering from what one prominent historian turned a disarming ideological promiscuity.
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unfortunately history has consigned mason to the second tier of historical significance. the goal of my book it's not to take recognition away from jefferson or madison or hamilton but to assign more credit to mason. as jefferson himself admitted, his authorship of the declaration of independence, was neither aiming at originality of principal or settlement nor yet copy of any particular and previous writing. it was intended to be an expression of the american mind. in fact, mason declaration of rights emerged as jefferson his brilliant and eloquent blueprint if not first draft, of the declaration of independence. mason's layered personality also played a notable part in so many
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important fields of intellectual thought including government law and the free exercise of religion, agriculture, architecture and philosophy. when he was among american authors of rights and independence whose elegant articulation of the american create articulated a vision and set the course for history. yet when he remained a somewhat reclusive figure of until the american revolutionary war. or that precipitated his constitutional brilliance. the war for independence did not progress swiftly. as england oppressive force became national policy, for the colonies mason met we put a resolution no less text and expressed in forceful language. when he wrote that though we are england's subjects, we will use
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every means which heaven have given us to prevent our becoming its slaves. we put mason's commanding strengths of intellect, when he became aroused the emotional appeal and bigger aboard. all is at stake when he wrote to washington and little conveniences and comforts of life, will set in competition we put our liberty it also be rejected not we put reluctance but we put pleasure. mason was not a bold commander. nor a fiery like patrick hendry. but again his chief aim as the draftsman of the virginia declaration of rights. when he rarely had a national audience outside of his country, virginia, and only the outside revealed whole significance of his proposed. in mason did not rest once his work for his words were written
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for his ideas were circulated, when he was a builder and a dissenter and architect of the american bill of rights, which was colorful arguably the most creative and consequential act of political leadership in american history. mason's virginia declaration of rights affirmed our modern fundamental freedom. the right to free press. the right to a jury trial the right to not to self incriminate. these were all mason's words written 12 years before the constitution was written. they became the blueprint for the first ten amendments known as our rights. it was mason not jefferson, not madison, not hamilton who wrote
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the first version of the second amendment. the right to bear arms. i found that to be amazing. these were mason's famous words. quote and again 12 years begin the constitution was even written. quote these were mason's words on the second amendment, quote a well regulated militia, composed of the body of the people trade arms is the proper natural and safe defense of a free state. that's his wife and mason died at the age of 39. mason's love and adored his wife and had their 12 children and when he had 25 men children. when he also loved his books, his estate, wind, architecture, horseback riding, hunting, fishing, history, the
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commonwealth of virginia and the very latest in farming ideas. a constant whole, the home when he built, mason discovered the pleasures of scholarly pursuit where an altered navy world of part of why it's and solitude when the family bible to prove to be his desirable tonic. a devoted family man, unlike some other founders, there was never an if it or suspicion involving his personal life. indeed, it's not possible to fully understand mason's intensity for liberty sacrifice and virtue, towards an explicit meeting in the 18th century, apart from his family the examination of surviving writers and documents a consumer will reveal a caring husband, and doting father. his son's recollections give us an additional window into private life of mason atkinson
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hall. mason never ceased to refer the companionship of a superior mind and prized good manners. although born privileged, when he opposed all of the trappings of an aristocratic society. when he believed in america. in an american. liberty was his chief concern. individual freedom was his chief concern. the freedom of the spirit, the freedom of the mind. mason although when he did want to attend college was a cultivated gentleman. when he did not attend college or law school legacy jefferson or we put madison. mason emerged though is the lifelong advocate education for all in proportion to the merit. to call him a vote of enlightenment is the best way to some of his thoughts.
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mason's political strength lay in his many friendships among the leaders of all shades of political figure. what is best friends, was of course george washington. in effect they had a tremendous calling out after mason refused to sign the constitution. and that ended their 30 year friendship. mason assumed responsibilities by virtue of his powering intellect. at times when he may have seemed remote even oysters, and insensitivities to criticism were recognized by some as a character flaw. but his colleagues also recognizes mason as a devoted family man and loyal friend. assets in any private circle. mason's industry could not be questioned. so i did not become a soldier during our due to age and health, when he was recognized by his peers as a man of capacity and forage.
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it seemed almost impossible for mason to be familiar to anyone outside of his immediate family. mason concentrated his attention on his large family not on posterity. his personal papers are not voluminous, compared to the official papers that jefferson washington and madison. the just edited addition of mason's papers money can't free volume. the diversion derived from both politics and family consideration. the george mason and patrick henry, curtailed their political careers after the constitutional convention in 1797 and virginia benefiting convention his 1988 so they had mass market papers than the first three presidents.
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in 1820, mason's grandsons george mason the fifth, and the six began to correspond we put prominent men who knew his grandfather including james madison. madison sympathized we put the young man's struggle to gather the papers. when he said and wrote to mason's achievements quote that highly distinguished as when he was, i counsel are more scanty that many of his contemporaries. are inferior to him and in intellectual powers and in public. although son had did largely dismiss as a man who reese refused to sign the constitution, this it's not a historically accurate picture of mason. this generosity was unmatched when it shame to his family and solicited to his beloved mother while she was alive as well to his younger brother and sister. by adulthood, when he was already begun to be a voracious
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collector of books. when he cultivated the arts and sciences in a culture. and even though when he losses your wife and at the age of 39, his lifelong friendship we put washington over his objections to the constitution, mason believed in the fundamental goodness of life. close study of surviving documents and letters have revealed mason's intricate character. those who have commented on mason's life and cashin tim is the reluctant statement. a gentleman revolutionary for the man who did not sign the constitution and indeed when he may be all of these things, but an examination of his public career reveals a broad picture of political contributions that spanned his entire adult life.
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it discloses his talents and persistence as a writer and a reformer, a legislature in a representative militia officer, a local church parish, a trustee for the town of alexandria, a treasurer of his western land speculation company, the ohio company. it is unfortunate that the mason is remembered best as the dissenting delegate to quote the federal constitution as when he was called in 1787 until in philadelphia. when he was one of three men and did not sign the constitution we put elbridge gerry, and admin runoff. when he refused to sign the final document that when he perceived sanctioned human slavery for the next 20 years. his constitution had a compromise for the importation of slaves.
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for another 20 years and when he objected to that vigorously. but his main objection to the constitution was the omission of a bill of rights. there was no bill of rights for people when he said and that is the fundamental reason when he did not sign the constitution. the first exports of his now famous objection, to the confusion eroded convention were her in every town and every village. there is no declaration of rights. when he carried his struggle of federal bill of rights to the people and when he loved barely hot enough to see his efforts crowned we put congressional victory. the monumental bill of rights. although professional historians are familiar we put mason's legacy, it seems that his renowned and his name has drowned in public obscurity.
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when he has by far one of the most unknown figures in american history and remote man more respect by revolutionary scholars and known by the general public. the perception that rebates history that when he lacks the appeal of franklin, they were both both dominant and george washington was a personal term for farms of thomas jefferson. in fact mason has receded so much in our collective memory that when he has become nothing more than a modest bronze statue here in washington dc. however, it is the time and place contemporaries grasped as superlative to describe george mason. madison is excluded that basin possessed the greatest talent for debate of any man i have
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ever seen her or speak. patrick henry, pressed him the greatest statesmen i ever knew. jefferson complemented his mind as being great and powerful. philip florentine position and world traveler met mason in williamsburg within days of arriving in america. mosaics in my opinion, mason it's not well-known enough. it is one of those brave rare talented men to cause nature a great effort to produce. the italian ranked mason is one of the intellectual giants writing that mason is one of the strong very rare intellects which are created only by a special effort of nature. like that the mecca value. a galileo, newton. ".
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those people know of mason the little of mason's private life. the private world of hamilton and jefferson have recently attracted a great deal of attention in ink. examines george mason by telling his personal as well as his political journey. while probing his 18th century rules. when he also touches on his significant contributions to the political life and liberty. mason became a leading virginian before during and after the american resolution. two great personal cost confronted the entangled history of slavery in an era of political revolution. what i hope to establish is the case for mason's elevated public fame. placing him among the most famous of american founders for both civil rights and freedom of
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religion. james madison gets credit for the bill of rights. whereas when he initially opposed the concept. when he agreed to support such document only as a last resort. george mason by contrast has been brushed aside as an opponent of the constitution. when the truth is when he was a major intellectual contributor to his creation. supper madison, probably no one contributed more to the actual document ended george mason. when he rightly deserves to be considered one of the fathers of our national government. indeed our greatest political document the declaration of independence, the bill of rights, the constitution of all forum and series of concentric circles, leaning back to george mason.
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in my view, mason should emerge as one of the preeminent literary architects of the american revolution. most americans should read this declaration of rights, and is later virginia constitution as part of the common stock of political and journalistic discourse. mason at the sharp mind of jefferson, the determination of washington of the literary skills of medicine and the personality and grumpy temperament of john adams. the man seemingly lost to the general public, mason's life, congealed the most entangled legal period. in the us history. why that is mason not among the sacred gallery of famed patriots. it is lamentable that most americans do not know mason as well as they should. especially when we reflect on who when he was and what when he
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achieved. virginia's cayenne, devoted husband and father of 12, 25 grandchildren. barbara, philosopher, botanist, amateur musician, fluent in two languages, architect of the declaration of independence in service component in america of religious liberty in history. when he received little credit little from history. he's looked at as a grumpy old patriot. when he lost his political game in philadelphia. they took hispanic willman home. that's why when he repeated the sign somewhere new. i hope to give the reader a new look at mason's character in his life and accomplishments. mason is shown to be in my book, to be a compassionate, sensitive
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and well read boy who matured into an accomplished salesman devoted husband and father. jefferson never mayday secret of the fact that when he redo your george mason. when he called him the wisest man of his generation. jefferson same biographer, dumas malone, agreed summarizing mason's contributions to the revolution we need said quote mason jar the rights of human beings much more fully than jefferson did in the immortal but necessarily compressed paragraph more famous document referring to the declaration of rights. the contemporary impact the basis declaration, malone went on to say there can be no possible question. more than any other single american, did you hear that war
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than any other single american, george mason may be regarded as the harold of this new era. quite simply mason developed into a private man of renaissance interest. within it the conviction deep inside him. the fate of individual liberty and freedom was paramount to governmental powers. when he believed individual freedom was a natural right. individual liberty was a natural right. when he wrote in his virginia declaration of rights, all power is vested in and consequently derived from the people that government is not to be instituted for the common benefit protection and security of the people nation or community.
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mason's literary skills help propel the community towards independence. when he drafted and viewed some of the most creative and consequential political texts and revolutionary history. yet history has the anointed others while mason has languished in relative obscurity. i hope this separates mason's recognition from his people very well abundantly clear at the end of my biography. it is said that biography and his we put death. however, at the most great statement mason thought of the next generation. had when he lived longer, matthew could've found a viable solution for the next generation to end flavored. an institution when he condemned in the most tragic of terms yet
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when he never freed his own slaves. i hope to present mason so the reader can feel the patriot and the father the husband of the former, the scholar. no doubt when he seen a hard man to know intimately and still is. but it must've seemed to keep privilege to know him then as it is now. i also hope my biography will invite the leader to define patriotism is mason. in his time and is brought in since while appreciating as well as the necessity of political debate in free society. as one historian eloquently concluded, in historic evaluation actions speak louder than words. emulation rather than rhetorical evaluation by men and women of wisdom, and virtue is the better
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test. by that rule, that mason be judged. finally, george mason two importance to to be found in the public achievement. the rights of the human spirit. life and liberty. in the final analysis, mason's political authorship should make him an enduring historical figure. like jefferson, we put his literary brilliance, mason's declaration of rights should be considered a monumental and important text. when he lived one of the most eventful powerful consequential lives of all times. for me on this earth is lasting principles. the show mankind from quote the last of tyrell. that was eloquent plea expressed
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by basis final legacy suggests political genius. those who carry the torch of freedom are soon forgotten. perhaps to be rediscovered centuries later. mason smit moving words and deeds offered inviting houghton legacy on individual liberties and constitutional government. which in my view will have few peoples. thank you very much. [applause] be glad to take any questions. you just have to move to the podium.
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>> i was struck we do quoted mason draft of the second amendment. it became the second amendment. as i heard you, say that," it didn't appear that there was an individual right to bear arms. is that correct interpretation? >> that was his original words. but when he believed individual, the right to individuals to bear arms. mason's major goal and major objection to the constitution was that when he was afraid of another george the third. when he was afraid that the new government would turn into tyranny. though when he believed in individual rights, individual liberty, many believe that the individual had to or the right to arm them. even though we did not we put that in the actual document.
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thank you for the question. >> thank you very much. sorry last phrase they just says that rings content in my ears right now. and it said to shield mankind from the lash of hybrid. how do you think mason might view the development and integration of artificial intelligence into our society. what when he viewed this inevitability as a potential threat to individual. . .
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for individual rights and liberty. he was against anything of the government intruding on the individual's rights and the individual's liberty. maybe he would think it was a governmental intrusion, artificial intelligence, i don't know. but i will say that one of his major calls, his major concerns was a freedom of the press. he would believe very strongly in a freedom of the press, freedom of expression. as far as that. >> you seem to be extremely familiar, you have done your research. do you think that he might feel a need to define individual now as organic?
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>> again, i have no idea. i just have no idea how he would think about that. >> i really appreciate your research, thank you very much. >> thank you for the question. >> can you tell us the reasons why those brilliant men who wrote the constitution and who knew about the ideas in the declaration of rights, men like madison, why do these writers initially object to and reject the ideas of the declaration of rights, which they had eventually agreed to in the bill ãbwhich ratification requires of the bill of rights. >> that's a great question. that's the very essence of the
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disagreement between mason and washington and madison at the convention. washington and madison fought a declaration of rights, a bill of rights was superfluous to the constitution. they thought that anything that wasn't in the constitution, referred back to or entered back to the states. in that they did not need a document to say that there was natural rights, individual liberties. they believed it was superfluous. mason completely disagreed and sorted patrick henry. he wanted an individual document, ae pandered to the constitution enumerating these bill of rights. the right to a jury trial, the right to a free press. the right to free expression. he believed that that should be written out. washington and madison thought that was superfluous and already inherent in the
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constitution. >> you may have hinted at the answer of this question just now but in virginia politics at the time was mason more closely aligned with jefferson and madison? or was with patrick henry? >> johnefferson, he was a close mentor of jefferson and a colleague of patrick henry. patrick henry and him teamed up in the virginia ratifying convention to try and defeat or at least getting bill of rights appended to the new constitution. so he was a mentor to jefferson but he was a political ally of patrick henry at the virginia ratifying convention and in fact, with him, patrick henry was one of the most vociferous objectors to the constitution. it came with and i think three or four votes in the virginia ratifying convention of defeating the constitution.
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>> in the bill of rights any compromising that probably took place to pass that, were there any particular rights on mason, henry's original list, that did not survive the process? >> yes. there are approximately 24 amendments at the virginia ratifying convention that were actually sent to congress, james madison expertly and i give him credit, basically edited these amendments down to be really the modern version of the bill of rights. there were many different conventions going on at the time. you have to remember nine states had to ratify the constitutional convention
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almost each state had their own set of amendments. but i believe there are approximately 24 that came out of the virginia convention. going back to mason's major his major freedom, he thought freedom of the press was an absolute fundamental. >> thank you. >> you mentioned mason's access to extensive finely library. is there any indication as to what political figures or philosophers may have impacted his thinking most. >> in fact, i have one chapter in the book that's devoted exclusively to that. he read extensively in his uncle john versus library 1500 volumes but he read all the english jurors lot had a major
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influence on him but montesquieu is what he read the most. montesquieu gave him the idea of separation of powers that there should be three branches of government. but that's why his own colleagues that he was the most the ablest constitutionalist in virginia because he was so well read, so verse on all the bill of rights. the english bill of rights in 1689 magna carta, rousseau's writing, blocks writings, and that's why she really was a genius. because he knew and had read all of these constitutions before. >> i think that does it for questions. you got one more?
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>> i have a question about the second amendment and the role of slavery played as opposed to militia or defense personal defense. the right to bear arms in other words. the right to hold slavery. >> i'm not sure he found those two to be tied together but one of his basic fundamental differences in one of the reasons he did not sign the constitution because there was compromise as a constitutional and it basically sustained the implicate slavery for the next 20 years. he was ferociously against slavery. he wrote about slavery and he thought it was abomination. he reported. like jefferson he did not know how to solve a problem of slavery in his lifetime.
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he basically kicked it down the road to the next generation. but that was one of the main reasons he did not sign the constitution because it sustained the compromise for importing slaves for 20 more years. >> thank you. could you please fill us in in a little bit more on his education. did he have a tutor? how old was he when he really started. he said something about collecting books. also, his age with regards to jefferson and the other people he was working with because you said his wife died at 39, how old was he?>> he was 67 when he died. he was about 15 years older than both madison and jefferson at the time. he did have tutors as a child
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but like george washington and one of the things they did have in common was both of their fathers died when they were very young boys at the age of 10. he really did not have a mentor so to speak growing up. so his uncle, john mercer, who was a lawyer had a vast library, over 1500 volumes of english law, coke, montesquieu lot, things like that, he really was under the tutelage after his father died of his uncle john mercer. and john mercer basically taught him to become a lawyer, to become a jurist, to become a scholar. that was really his main mentor was his uncle and reading from the age of 11 all of these various volumes. but one of the interesting things you did mention his wife, he did remarry seven years after his wife died.
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the second marriage. they did not have children but at the time of the death of his wife, he had 12 children to raise by himself. thank you. >> i think that's it. >> thank you so much, i appreciate it. [applause] [inaudible speaking] now on c-span2 booktv, more television for serious readers. >>. [inaudible background conversations]


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