Copy of a 1750 portrait
On June 5, 1788, Patrick Henry spoke before Virginia's ratification convention in opposition to the Constitution.
Coat of Arms of George Mason
George Washington's 1788 letter to the Marquis de Lafayette observed, "the Convention of Massachusetts adopted the Constitution in toto; but recommended a number of specific alterations and quieting explanations." Source: Library of Congress
Artist rendering of Ann Eilbeck
James Madison, primary author and chief advocate for the Bill of Rights in the First Congress
Gunston Hall postage stamp, 1958 issue
House of Burgesses in Williamsburg, Virginia, where Mason served
Mason's plan for Virginia's constitution was adopted over proposals by Thomas Jefferson (pictured) and others.
Letter from Mason to Washington, 1776, congratulating the general on his victory in the siege of Boston
Independence Hall's Assembly Room, where the Constitutional Convention, for the most part, was held
Gunston Hall in May 2006, seen from the front
George Mason University, Fairfax, Virginia, in 2015, with the statue of Mason
"Declaration of the Rights of Man and of the Citizen", written mainly by Lafayette under Jefferson's influence, was based on ideals codified by Mason.

The Virginia Declaration of Rights, which Mason principally authored, served as a basis for the United States Bill of Rights, a document of which he has been deemed a father.

- George Mason

On September 12, George Mason of Virginia suggested the addition of a Bill of Rights to the Constitution modeled on previous state declarations, and Elbridge Gerry of Massachusetts made it a formal motion.

- United States Bill of Rights

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Portrait by John Vanderlyn, 1816

James Madison

American statesman, diplomat, and Founding Father who served as the 4th president of the United States from 1809 to 1817.

American statesman, diplomat, and Founding Father who served as the 4th president of the United States from 1809 to 1817.

Portrait by John Vanderlyn, 1816
Madison's Birthplace
Madison at Princeton, portrait by James Sharples
Congressional delegate Madison, age 32 by Charles Willson Peale
page one of the original copy
of the U.S. Constitution
Gouverneur Morris signs the Constitution before George Washington. Madison sits next to Robert Morris, in front of Benjamin Franklin. Painting by John Henry Hintermeister, 1925.
Thomas Jefferson founded the Democratic-Republican Party with Madison.
Montpelier, Madison's tobacco plantation in Virginia
The 1803 Louisiana Purchase totaled 827,987 sqmi, doubling the size of the United States.
James Madison by Gilbert Stuart,
1808 electoral vote results
James Madison engraving by David Edwin from between 1809 and 1817
USS Constitution defeats HMS Guerriere, a significant event during the war. U.S. nautical victories boosted American morale.
The British set ablaze the U.S. Capital on August 24, 1814.
Battle of New Orleans. 1815
Battle of Tippecanoe November 7, 1811
Portrait of James Madison c. 1821, by Gilbert Stuart
Madison's gravestone at Montpelier
Portrait of Madison, age 82, c. 1833
A life-sized statue of Madison at James Madison University.

He is hailed as the "Father of the Constitution" for his pivotal role in drafting and promoting the Constitution of the United States and the Bill of Rights.

Before a quorum was reached at the Philadelphia Convention on May 25, 1787, Madison worked with other members of the Virginia delegation, especially Edmund Randolph and George Mason, to create and present the Virginia Plan.

George Mason was the principal author of the Virginia Declaration of Rights.

Virginia Declaration of Rights

Drafted in 1776 to proclaim the inherent rights of men, including the right to reform or abolish "inadequate" government.

Drafted in 1776 to proclaim the inherent rights of men, including the right to reform or abolish "inadequate" government.

George Mason was the principal author of the Virginia Declaration of Rights.

It influenced a number of later documents, including the United States Declaration of Independence (1776) and the United States Bill of Rights (1789).

Ten articles were initially drafted by George Mason c. May 20–26, 1776; three other articles were added in committee, seen in the original draft in the handwriting of Thomas Ludwell Lee, but the author is unknown.

The Articles of Confederation, predecessor to the U.S. Constitution and drafted from Anti-Federalist principles

Anti-Federalism

Late-18th century political movement that opposed the creation of a stronger U.S. federal government and which later opposed the ratification of the 1787 Constitution.

Late-18th century political movement that opposed the creation of a stronger U.S. federal government and which later opposed the ratification of the 1787 Constitution.

The Articles of Confederation, predecessor to the U.S. Constitution and drafted from Anti-Federalist principles

Though the Constitution was ratified and supplanted the Articles of Confederation, Anti-Federalist influence helped lead to the passage of the Bill of Rights.

George Mason, Virginia

Portrait by Nathaniel Jocelyn

Elbridge Gerry

American Founding Father, politician, and diplomat who served as the fifth vice president of the United States under President James Madison from 1813 until his death in 1814.

American Founding Father, politician, and diplomat who served as the fifth vice president of the United States under President James Madison from 1813 until his death in 1814.

Portrait by Nathaniel Jocelyn
John Adams (portrait by John Trumbull) held Gerry in high regard.
Ann Thompson
Gerry supported economic policies of Federalist Alexander Hamilton (portrait by Ezra Ames).
Charles Maurice de Talleyrand (portrait by François Gérard) insisted Gerry remain in Paris, even after negotiations had failed.
The word "gerrymander" (originally written "Gerry-mander") was used for the first time in the Boston Gazette newspaper on March 26, 1812. Appearing with the term, and helping spread and sustain its popularity, was this political cartoon, which depicts a state senate district in Essex County as a strange animal with claws, wings and a dragon-type head, satirizing the district's odd shape.
Grave of Elbridge Gerry at Congressional Cemetery
Elbridge Gerry House in Marblehead
General George Washington Resigning His Commission, by John Trumbull, shows Gerry standing on the left.

He was one of three men who attended the Constitutional Convention in 1787 who refused to sign the United States Constitution because it did not include a Bill of Rights at the time it was signed.

He was one of only three delegates who voted against the proposed constitution in the convention (the others were George Mason and Edmund Randolph), citing a concern about the convention's lack of authority to enact such major changes to the nation's system of government and to the constitution's lack of "federal features."

Patrick Henry

American attorney, planter, politician and orator known for declaring to the Second Virginia Convention (1775): "Give me liberty, or give me death!" A Founding Father, he served as the first and sixth post-colonial Governor of Virginia, from 1776 to 1779 and from 1784 to 1786.

American attorney, planter, politician and orator known for declaring to the Second Virginia Convention (1775): "Give me liberty, or give me death!" A Founding Father, he served as the first and sixth post-colonial Governor of Virginia, from 1776 to 1779 and from 1784 to 1786.

View of Rural Plains near Totopotomoy Creek in Virginia. Henry was reportedly married to Sarah Shelton in the parlor.
Patrick Henry Arguing the Parson's Cause by George Cooke
Patrick Henry's "Treason" speech before the House of Burgesses in an 1851 painting by Peter F. Rothermel
19th century engraving of Washington (center), Henry (right) and Pendleton riding to Philadelphia for the First Continental Congress
Currier & Ives depiction of Henry giving his famous speech
Royal proclamation against Henry, 1775
Boulder and plaque marking former location of Leatherwood Plantation in Henry County, Virginia
Graves of Patrick Henry and his wife Dorothea in the family burying ground at Red Hill. Patrick's is on the right; the inscription reads, "His fame his best epitaph".
Red Hill Plantation, Charlotte County, Virginia, circa 1907
Patrick Henry $1 stamp, Liberty issue, 1955
1961 issue honoring Henry in the American Credo series

He actively opposed the ratification of the United States Constitution, both fearing a powerful central government and because there was as yet no Bill of Rights.

According to George Mason, a former burgess from Fairfax County who joined the committee in the work, Henry took the lead.

Portrait of Luther Martin

Luther Martin

Politician and one of the Founding Fathers of the United States, who left the Constitutional Convention early because he felt the Constitution violated states' rights.

Politician and one of the Founding Fathers of the United States, who left the Constitutional Convention early because he felt the Constitution violated states' rights.

Portrait of Luther Martin

He was a leading Anti-Federalist, along with Patrick Henry and George Mason, whose actions helped passage of the Bill of Rights.