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Jeff Broadwater will present Securing the People’s Liberties: George Mason, James Madison, and the Idea of a Bill of Rights on Wednesday, November 9, 2016,
Noon to 1 p.m., Main Reading Room, 2001 Fenwick Library.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.
Jeff Broadwater is a professor of history at Barton College. He is the author of George Mason: Forgotten Founder (2006), and James Madison: A Son of Virginia and a Founder of the Nation (2012).
For more information, contact George Oberle, History Librarian, goberle @ gmu.edu