Why did George Mason refuse to sign the U.S. Constitution? George Mason did not sign the constitution because he felt it was inadequate in its control of government power. That all men are by nature equally free and independent and have certain inherent rights, of which, when they enter into a state of society, they cannot, by any compact, deprive or divest their posterity; namely, the enjoyment of life and liberty, with the means of acquiring and possessing property, and pursuing and obtaining happiness and safety. Even though I don't like everything about this plan, it is as close to perfect as we will get." Many historians have claimed that Mason’s refusal to compromise with the ratification process cost him close friendships with George Washington and other proponents of an empowered centralized government. The concepts look familiar because Thomas Jefferson eloquently incorporated them in the second paragraph of our Declaration of Independence. What about the other two non-signers? Benjamin Franklin B.) One of three (including Edmund Randolph and Elbridge Gerry) who refuse to Washington promised him the position of Attorney General in his administration, and he became a keen supporter of the Constitution during the Virginia ratification. Why did Edmund Randolph, George Mason, and Elbridge Gerry oppose the Constitution? “Amendments, therefore, will be necessary, and it will be better to provide for them, in an easy, regular and Constitutional way than to trust to chance and violence. Thank goodness he argued long enough to influence Jefferson in his second paragraph of the Declaration and also to influence the first 10 amendments to the Constitution. Mason went home to brave the wrath of George Washington and many of his countrymen by … They are unaware of his reasons for refusing to sign. He warned that the federal judiciary would attempt to usurp powers from the state governments. The other two refused to sign due to their personalities. See the film “Fractured Union”, paid for by Fairfax Cty Public Schools and Mount Vernon and witness the incorrect statements made about Mason and the Constitution by David Reese, the director at Gunston Hall for the past 7 years. George Mason (December 11, 1725 - October 7, 1792) Known for: being the "Father of the United States Bill of Rights." In the end, George Mason did not believe the Constitution established a wise and just government. The World of George Washington. In 1787, Mason was named one of his state's delegates to the Constitutional Convention and traveled to Philadelphia, his only lengthy trip outside Virginia. In early 1776, before the Declaration of Independence, Mason drafted the Virginia Declaration of Rights and framed Virginia’s constitution. Not even Mason's offer to write an immediate version himself was enough to sway the delegates who were impatient to wrap up matters and go home. Excellent article, especially in light of what has come to be since then. Nor are the people secured even in the enjoyment of the benefit of the common law. The Congress may grant monopolies in trade and commerce, constitute new crimes, inflict unusual and severe punishments, and extend their powers as far as they shall think proper; so that the State legislatures have no security for the powers now presumed to remain to them, or the people for their rights. George Mason … SEC. At the end of the convention, Mason was dissatisfied with the Constitution of the United States because it did not include a Bill of Rights. Who re… He didn't sign The Constitution because he thought it gave the federal government too much power AND because he opposed slavery. For Mason, the last straw came on September 12,1787, when his proposal to include a bill of rights in the new Constitution was defeated 10 states to none. Were there valid reasons to oppose the Constitution? He will therefore be unsupported by proper information and advice, and will generally be directed by minions and favourites…, The President… has the unrestrained power of granting pardons for treason, which may be sometimes exercised to screen from punishment those whom he had secretly instigated to commit the crime, and thereby prevent a discovery of his own guilt…. Ironically, Randolph would later refuse to sign the Constitution at the end of the Convention in part because he believed his constituents in Virginia would disapprove of the Constitution. George Mason refused to sign the Constitution at Philadelphia in September of 1787 because it failed to incorporate a Bill of Rights for the purpose of imposing limitations on the new federal government and because it failed to end slavery. would not represent the states well enough. I’m related to him so it’s pretty cool to read about this. [CDATA[ */ Learn More. As the constitution was being signed, Franklin was famously quoted as saying “I have the happiness to know that it is a rising and not a setting sun”. Although he believed a bill of rights was mandatory, he had additional objections to the Constitution. Thanks, however, to George Mason… George Mason, the Framer Who Refused to Sign the Constitution. The President of the United States has no constitutional council [cabinet], a thing unknown in any safe and regular government. In the end, he was one of three remaining delegates who refused to sign the Constitution. Three main advocates of this movement were George Mason, Elbridge Gerry, and Edmund Randolph. A.) To a great extent, we owe him our gratitude for the first ten amendments. The Constitution, as it was, did not have a Bill of Rights to ensure the government would not infringe on citizens' rights. What was the main idea of the Virginia Statute for Religious Freedom? Yes. But Madison argued it was unnecessary and perhaps even harmful. He owned seventy-five thousand acres and over ninety slaves. /*