Social Studies - 2019-20

GOVT.2f - Famous Documents

The student will demonstrate knowledge of the political philosophies that shaped the development of Virginia and United States constitutional government by 

f) evaluating and explaining George Mason’s Virginia Declaration of Rights, Thomas Jefferson’s Virginia Statute for Religious Freedom, and James Madison’s leadership role in securing adoption of the Bill of Rights by the First Congress.

Adopted: 2015


Big Themes/Concepts: Origins, Power & Authority, Leadership

How does a country's political origins impact how it operates today?

How does the Constitution reflect the times in which it was written?


Virginians played key roles in securing individual liberties. 


Virginia Declaration of Rights, by George Mason 

• States that all Virginians should have certain rights, including freedom of religion and the press 

• Basis for the Bill of Rights of the Constitution of the United States 

Virginia Statute for Religious Freedom, by Thomas Jefferson 

• States that all people should be free to worship as they please 

• First time religious freedom was protected by law 

• Basis for the First Amendment to the Constitution of the United States, which guarantees religious freedom 

James Madison, “Father of the Constitution” 

• Kept detailed notes during the Constitutional Convention 

• Engineered compromises on the most difficult issues facing the delegates 

• Authored the “Virginia Plan,” which proposed a federal government of three separate branches (legislative, executive, and judicial) and became the foundation for the structure of the new government. 

• Authored much of the Bill of Rights 


Updated: Jun 22, 2017