Virginia Declaration of Rights

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Who was the author of the Virginia Declaration of Rights?

George Mason

When was the Virginia Declaration of Rights adopted?

June 12, 1776

Which document drew upon the opening paragraphs of the Declaration of Independence?

Virginia Declaration of Rights

According to Section 1, what are the inherent rights that men have when they enter into a state of society?

Enjoyment of life and liberty, with the means of acquiring and possessing property, and pursuing and obtaining happiness and safety

According to Section 2, where is all power vested in and derived from?

The people

According to Section 3, for what purpose should government be instituted?

For the common benefit, protection, and security of the people, nation, or community

What is the primary purpose of the community's right to reform, alter, or abolish inadequate government?

To promote the public weal

What is the role of the legislative and executive powers according to the text?

To be restrained from oppression

What is the right of all men regarding elections as per the text?

To be eligible for frequent, certain, and regular elections

What is considered injurious to the rights of the people according to the text?

Power of suspending laws without consent of the people's representatives

What is preferable in controversies respecting property and suits between man and man?

Ancient trial by jury

What is asserted about the freedom of press according to the text?

It can be restrained by despotic governments

What is considered as a proper, natural, and safe defense of a free state according to the text?

Well-regulated militia composed of the body of the people

What is necessary for preserving a free government and the blessings of liberty according to the text?

Firm adherence to justice, moderation, temperance, frugality, and virtue

What does the text assert about religion and its practice?

All men are equally entitled to free exercise of religion according to dictates of conscience

What is considered harmful to liberty according to the text?

Cruel and unusual punishments

What does the text assert about standing armies in time of peace?

They should be avoided as dangerous to liberty

What does the text assert about search warrants issued without evidence of a fact committed?

They are considered oppressive and should not be granted

What is the primary purpose of the Virginia Declaration of Rights?

To outline the inherent rights of individuals

According to Section 1, what are the inherent rights that men have when they enter into a state of society?

Right to pursue happiness and safety

What does the text assert about the role of government?

Government should be instituted for the common benefit, protection, and security of the people

According to Section 2, where is all power vested in and derived from?

The people

What does the text assert about standing armies in time of peace?

They are a threat to liberty

What does the text assert about search warrants issued without evidence of a fact committed?

They violate individual rights

What is considered harmful to liberty according to the text?

Standing armies in time of peace

Who was the author of the Virginia Declaration of Rights?

George Mason

What does the text assert about religion and its practice?

Individuals have the right to practice any religion

According to Section 3, for what purpose should government be instituted?

For the common benefit, protection, and security of the people

What is preferable in controversies respecting property and suits between man and man?

Fair and impartial trials

What does the text assert about elections?

All men have the right to vote in elections

What is the purpose of the community's right to reform, alter, or abolish inadequate government?

To address inadequacy and promote the public weal

What does the text assert about exclusive emoluments or privileges from the community?

They should only be given for public services

What is the role of the legislative and executive powers according to the text?

To be separate and distinct from the judiciary

What is preferable in controversies respecting property and suits between man and man according to the text?

Trial by jury

According to Section 10, what does the text assert about general warrants?

They are oppressive and should not be granted

What does the text assert about the freedom of the press?

It is one of the great bulwarks of liberty

What is considered as a proper, natural, and safe defense of a free state according to the text?

A well-regulated militia

According to the Virginia Declaration of Rights, where is all power vested?

In the people

What does the Virginia Declaration of Rights assert about the role of government?

Government should be subject to regular elections

What does the Virginia Declaration of Rights assert about search warrants issued without evidence of a fact committed?

They are harmful to liberty

What is the primary purpose of the community's right to reform, alter, or abolish inadequate government according to the Virginia Declaration of Rights?

To secure their common benefit

According to the Virginia Declaration of Rights, what is considered as a proper, natural, and safe defense of a free state?

A well-regulated militia

What does the Virginia Declaration of Rights assert about exclusive emoluments or privileges from the community?

They are prohibited for public servants

According to the Virginia Declaration of Rights, what is preferable in controversies respecting property and suits between man and man?

Impartial jury trial

What is considered harmful to liberty according to the Virginia Declaration of Rights?

Excessive bail and fines

What does the Virginia Declaration of Rights assert about religion and its practice?

Equal rights to practice religion according to conscience

What does the Virginia Declaration of Rights assert about the freedom of press?

Freedom of press is a bulwark of liberty

What is the role of legislative and executive powers according to the Virginia Declaration of Rights?

They should be separate and distinct from the judiciary

According to the Virginia Declaration of Rights, what is necessary for preserving a free government and the blessings of liberty?

Justice, moderation, temperance, frugality, virtue, and recurrence to fundamental principles

What influenced the Virginia Declaration of Rights?

The Glorious Revolution of 1688–89

Who was the principal author of the Virginia Declaration of Rights?

George Mason

What did George Mason's Declaration of Rights insist regarding power and the people?

All power is vested in and derived from the people

What influenced several other important texts, including the Declaration of Independence and the 1791 Bill of Rights?

The Virginia Declaration of Rights

What stands as George Mason's most lasting legacy according to the text?

The addition of the Bill of Rights to the Constitution

What did George Mason oppose due to its lack of a particular statement?

The 1787 Constitution

What did George Mason accept as an opportunity for Virginia's government?

Independence from Great Britain

'Jefferson remembered him as a man 'of the first order of greatness.' Who was Jefferson referring to?

'George Mason'

'What did George Mason believe should enable the new Virginia government to uphold natural and civil rights?'

'Separation of powers'

'What decision did George Mason's opposition lead to regarding the 1787 Constitution?'

'Its rejection'

Study Notes

  • The Declaration of Rights is made by the representatives of the people of Virginia in a free convention.
  • All men are equal, free, and have inherent rights to life, liberty, property, happiness, and safety.
  • All power is vested in the people, and they can alter or abolish government that fails to serve their common benefit.
  • No exclusive or separate emoluments or privileges from the community for public servants.
  • Legislative and executive powers should be separate and distinct from the judiciary, with members subject to regular elections.
  • Free and fair elections, and the right to consent to taxation and public use of property.
  • No suspension of laws or execution of laws without consent of the representatives of the people.
  • Right to a fair trial by an impartial jury, protection against self-incrimination, and prohibition of excessive bail, fines, and cruel punishments.
  • Protection against general warrants and the importance of the ancient trial by jury in property disputes.
  • Freedom of the press as a bulwark of liberty and the proper role of a well-regulated militia in a free state.
  • Uniform government and the importance of justice, moderation, temperance, frugality, virtue, and recurrence to fundamental principles for the preservation of liberty.
  • Equal rights to practice religion according to the dictates of conscience, and the duty to practice Christian forbearance, love, and charity towards each other.

Test your knowledge about the Virginia Declaration of Rights, which served as a foundational document for the Declaration of Independence and the Bill of Rights. Learn about its historical significance and key provisions.

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