Virginia Declaration of Rights

From Academic Kids

The Virginia Declaration of Rights is a declaration by the Virginia Convention of Delegates of rights of individuals and a call for independence from Britain. Its first draft was developed by George Mason around May 20 to 26, 1776, and amended by Thomas Ludwell and the Convention. Its final version was adopted unanimously on June 12, 1776.

The Declaration stated that "all men are born equally free and independant (sic), and have certain inherent natural rights,...among which are the Enjoyment of Life and Liberty, with the Means of acquiring and possessing Property, and pursueing [sic] and obtaining Happiness and Safety". The full text is available at Wikisource.

Mason based his document on earlier documents, such as the English Bill of Rights. In turn, the Declaration heavily influenced later documents. Thomas Jefferson drew on it when he drafted the Declaration of Independence one month later. James Madison was also influenced by the Declaration while drafting the Bill of Rights, as was the Marquis de Lafayette in composing the French Revolution's Declaration of the Rights of Man and of the Citizen.

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