Mason insisted on adding individual rights and explicit States rights to the Constitution. The first ten amendments resulted from Mason’s efforts. The ten amendments were based on Mason’s Virginia Declaration of Rights from 1776, and they are known as “the Bill of Rights”. Mason was a slaveholder, but he was against slavery. He was determined to ban importation of African slaves and prevent further spread of slavery to other states. Nevertheless, he thought that slavery should not be abolished in places where it existed. According to Mason, that would result in numerous controversies and problems.
George Mason Quotes
An instance within the memory of some of this house will show us how our militia may be destroyed. Forty years ago, when the resolution of enslaving America was formed in Great Britain, the British Parliment was advised by an artful man, who was governor of Pennsylvania, to disarm the people; that it was the best and most effectual way to enslave them; but that they should not do it openly, but weaken them, and let them sink gradually, by totally disusing and neglecting the militia.—
I ask, sir, what is the militia? It is the whole people, except for a few public officials.—