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Virginia Declaration of Rights

The June 12, 1993, re-dedication of Stafford County Courthouse featured a rare appearance of Mason (IV)’s draft manuscript of the Virginia Declaration of Rights. Because of its fragile condition and historical importance, the Declaration has seldom been removed from Virginia State Archives.  On display at the same time was the clerk’s copy of the first Virginia Constitution, which laid out the forms and procedures of an independent Virginia government.

“That all men are born equally free and independent, and have certain inherent natural rights, of which they cannot, by any compact, deprive or divest their posterity; among which are, the enjoyment of life and liberty, with the means of acquiring and possessing property, and pursuing and obtaining happiness and safety.”