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West Potomac Park in Washington, District of Columbia — The American Northeast (Mid-Atlantic)
 

Forgotten Founder

National Mall and Memorial Parks, George Mason Memorial

 

— National Park Service, U.S. Department of the Interior —

 
Forgotten Founder Marker image. Click for full size.
By Devry Becker Jones, June 18, 2019
1. Forgotten Founder Marker
Inscription.  
"All men are born equally free and independent. And have certain inherent natural rights... among which are the enjoyment of life and liberty, with the means of acquiring and possessing property, pursuing and obtaining happiness and safety."
Virginia Declaration of Rights, June 1776
This quote is inscribed next to the statue of George Mason


In front of you a statue of George Mason holds a book by Cicero, a Roman politician and orator. Mason used ideas from Cicero and others to write the Virginia Declaration of Rights in May of 1776, the first document to protect individual rights in the United States. The document served as inspiration for the Declaration of Independence written weeks later. When Mason's ideas for protecting individual rights were unanimously rejected at the 1787 Constitutional Convention he campaigned against the Constitution's passage. However, Mason's ideas lived on. James Madison borrowed heavily from Mason to write the Bill of Rights, securing American individual liberties for over 220 years.

The George Mason Memorial will be closed to the public from September
Forgotten Founder Marker image. Click for full size.
By Devry Becker Jones, June 18, 2019
2. Forgotten Founder Marker
Click or scan to see
this page online
2017 to fall of 2018 for restoration and repair of the fountains.

Funded by the National Park Service Centennial Challenge with a match by the Trust for the National Mall.
 
Erected 2017 by National Park Service, U.S. Department of the Interior.
 
Topics and series. This historical marker is listed in this topic list: Patriots & Patriotism. In addition, it is included in the Former U.S. Presidents: #04 James Madison series list. A significant historical month for this entry is May 1776.
 
Location. 38° 52.797′ N, 77° 2.376′ W. Marker is in West Potomac Park in Washington, District of Columbia. Marker is at the intersection of East Basin Drive Southwest and Ohio Drive Southwest, on the left when traveling west on East Basin Drive Southwest. Touch for map. Marker is at or near this postal address: 900 Ohio Drive Southwest, Washington DC 20242, United States of America. Touch for directions.
 
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. River Bottom to Parkland (about 500 feet away, measured in a direct line); Cuban Friendship Urn (about 600 feet away); The Gift of Friendship (approx. 0.2 miles away); Thomas Jefferson (approx. 0.2 miles away); Air Mail (approx. ¼ mile away); Franklin Delano Roosevelt Memorial (approx. 0.3 miles away); The Line of Duty (approx. 0.4 miles away); The Gift of Trees (approx. 0.4 miles away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in West Potomac Park.
 
Related marker.
George Mason Memorial Garden image. Click for full size.
By Barry Swackhamer, October 14, 2018
3. George Mason Memorial Garden
Click here for another marker that is related to this marker. This marker has replaced the linked marker.
 
George Mason IV image. Click for full size.
portrait by Dominic W. Boudet after John Hesselius (courtesy Gunston Hall Board of Regents), 1811
4. George Mason IV
1811 portrait by Dominic W. Boudet after John Hesselius.
Close-up of image on marker
<i>Scene of the Signing of the Constitution of the United States</i>, Howard Chandler Christy image. Click for full size.
Howard Chandler Christy (via Wikipedia), 1940
5. Scene of the Signing of the Constitution of the United States, Howard Chandler Christy
George Mason was present at the signing of the Constitution but was left off of this painting because he did not sign the document.
George Mason image. Click for full size.
By Allen C. Browne, May 29, 2019
6. George Mason
Sculpture by Wendy M. Ross.
De Officiis<br>(On Duties)<br>By Cicero image. Click for full size.
By Allen C. Browne, May 29, 2019
7. De Officiis
(On Duties)
By Cicero
Detail of George Mason Statue by Wendy M. Ross.
George Mason Memorial image. Click for full size.
By Allen C. Browne, May 29, 2019
8. George Mason Memorial
“All men are born equally free and independent, and have certain inherent natural rights... among which are the enjoyment of life and liberty, with the means of acquiring and possessing property, and pursuing and obtaining happiness and safety.” George Mason, May 1776
George Mason Memorial image. Click for full size.
By Allen C. Browne, May 29, 2019
9. George Mason Memorial
A Gift of the
Board of Regents of Gunston Hall Plantation, Mason Neck, Virginia
The National Society of the Colonial Dames of America

Dedicated by:
William H. Rehnquist
Chief Justice of the United States
April 9, 2002

Memorial Design  Rhodeside & Harwell, Incorporated
Sculptor  Wendy M. Ross
Left Panel<br>George Mason Memorial image. Click for full size.
By Allen C. Browne, May 29, 2019
10. Left Panel
George Mason Memorial
“This was George Mason, a man of the first order of wisdom among those who acted on the theatre of the revolution, of expansive mind, profound judgment, cogent in argument….” Thomas Jefferson, 1821

“Regarding slavery.... that slow poison, which is daily contaminating the minds and morals of our people. Every gentlemen here is born a petty tyrant. Practiced in acts of despotism and cruelty, we become callous to the dictates of humanity, and all the finer feelings of the soul. Taught to regard a part of our own species in the most abject and contemptible degree below us, we lose that idea of the dignity of man, which the hand of nature had implanted in us, for great and useful purposes….” George Mason, July 1773

"I recommend it to my sons.... never to let the motives of private interest or ambition to induce them to betray, nor the terrors of poverty and disgrace or the fear of danger or of death deter them from asserting the liberty of their country, and endeavoring to transmit to their posterity those sacred rights to which themselves were born.” George Mason, March 1773
Right Panel<br>George Mason Memorial image. Click for full size.
By Allen C. Browne, May 29, 2019
11. Right Panel
George Mason Memorial
“The first declaration of rights which truly deserves the name is that of Virginia... and its author is entitled to the eternal gratitude of mankind.” Marquis de Condorcet, Paris 1789

“All power is vested in and consequently derived from the People…

Government is or ought to be instituted for the common benefit protection and security of the people.

The Freedom of the press is one of the greatest bulwarks of liberty, and can never be restrained by despotick governments.

All Men are equally entitled to the free exercise of religion….” Virginia Declaration of rights, June 1776
George Mason image. Click for full size.
By Allen C. Browne, May 29, 2019
12. George Mason
 
 
Credits. This page was last revised on June 3, 2020. It was originally submitted on December 11, 2017, by Devry Becker Jones of Washington, District of Columbia. This page has been viewed 228 times since then and 10 times this year. Photos:   1, 2. submitted on June 18, 2019, by Devry Becker Jones of Washington, District of Columbia.   3. submitted on October 26, 2018, by Barry Swackhamer of Brentwood, California.   4, 5, 6. submitted on May 30, 2019, by Allen C. Browne of Silver Spring, Maryland.   7, 8, 9. submitted on June 1, 2019, by Allen C. Browne of Silver Spring, Maryland.   10, 11, 12. submitted on June 2, 2019, by Allen C. Browne of Silver Spring, Maryland. • Bill Pfingsten was the editor who published this page.

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Apr. 15, 2021