Today is Constitution Day, a great opportunity to recall the uniqueness of our Constitution and it's influence in affecting government's respect for individual rights around the world. It's a remarkable document for it's vision in resolving competing interests and rights, balancing the power of government, and its flexibility to remain relevant over so much time and allow for amendment to adapt.
The Constitution wasn't written until more than a decade after the Declaration of Independence. The Virginia state constitution was very influential in formulating many of the principles adopted by the U.S. Constitution. Probably foremost is the protection of individual rights specified in the Bill of Rights, the first ten amendments. And it was George Mason of Virginia who is credited with leading the urgency to formalize these protections of individual liberty and limit the influence and power of the government. And the philosophical source of these rights, as specified in the Declaration of Independence, and government's obligation to recognize them is God's endowment. Both individuals and government are obligated to Him to respect and protect these rights.
Mason was appointed in 1786 to represent Virginia as a delegate to a Federal Convention, to meet in Philadelphia for the purpose of revising the Articles of Confederation....One objection to the proposed Constitution was that it lacked a "declaration of rights". As a delegate to Virginia's ratification convention, he opposed ratification without amendment. Among the amendments he desired was a bill of rights....On December 15, 1791, the U.S. Bill of Rights, based primarily on George Mason's Virginia Declaration of Rights, was ratified in response to the agitation of Mason and others.