Drafted by George Mason in May 1776, the Virginia Declaration of Rights was a call for American independence from Britain. This document was heavily drawn from by Thomas Jefferson in the drafting of the Declaration of Independence one month later, as well as by James Madison in writing the Bill of Rights in 1789. Consisting of sixteen articles on the subject of which rights “pertain to [the people of Virginia] … as the basis and foundation of Government.” In addition to affirming the inherent nature of rights to life, liberty, property, and pursuing and obtaining happiness and safety, the Declaration both describes a view of Government as the servant of the people, and enumerates its separation of powers into the administration, legislature, and judiciary. This document is unusual in the fact that it not only prescribes legal rights, but also describes moral principles upon which a government should be run. A slightly updated version can still be found in Virginia’s Constitution, meaning it is still legally in effect to this day.
Reproduction print measures approximately 15 ¾” long by 13 ½” wide (comes folded in a 8 ¾” by 4 ¼” envelope).