George Mason was the author of the Virginia Declaration of Rights, which was adopted three weeks before the national Declaration of Independence. Other states used Mason's document as an example when they began drawing up similar documents and creating similar safeguards of individual liberties in their own state constitutions. Mason's declaration directly affected the French Declaration of the Rights of Man, and the Citizen of 1789. George Mason even has influence in the modern world, for the United Nations Declaration of Human Rights echoes Mason's Virginia Declaration of Rights.
Raised by an uncle after the death of his father, most of Mason's early education came from his uncle's 1500 volume personal library, a full one-third of those books being law books. Mason inherited Gunston Hall, one of the richest plantations in Virginia, and he acquired an interest in the Ohio Company, which was an organization that speculated in western lands by equipping settlers and accepting a portion of their crops and furs as payment on the loans. In 1773, however, the British government revoked the rights of colonists to settle in Ohio, reserving those lands for the Native Americans and destroying the wealth of the Ohio Company.
This report prepared by Nathaniel Ford