George Mason Memorial

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George Mason Memorial
IUCN category V (protected landscape/seascape)
George Mason Memorial (December 2014).jpg
George Mason Memorial[1]
Map showing the location of George Mason Memorial
Map showing the location of George Mason Memorial
Location Washington, D.C., United States
Coordinates 38°52′46″N 77°2′21″W / 38.87944°N 77.03917°W / 38.87944; -77.03917Coordinates: 38°52′46″N 77°2′21″W / 38.87944°N 77.03917°W / 38.87944; -77.03917
Established Authorized: 1990
Groundbroken: 2000
Dedicated: 2002
Governing body National Park Service
Website George Mason Memorial

The George Mason Memorial is a national memorial to Founding Father George Mason, the author of the Virginia Declaration of Rights that inspired the United States Bill of Rights. The Memorial is located in East Potomac Park within Washington, D.C. at 900 Ohio drive, which is a part of the Tidal Basin.[2] Authorized in 1990, with a groundbreaking in 2000 and dedication in 2002, the memorial includes a sculpture of Mason, a pool, trellis, circular hedges, and numerous inscriptions.

Namesake[edit]

The memorial commemorates the contributions of Mason, a Founding Father who wrote the Virginia Declaration of Rights, served as a delegate to the 1787 Constitutional Convention in Philadelphia, and created much of the language, inspiration, and groundwork for what became the United States Bill of Rights. Mason, an Anti-Federalist, did not sign the United States Constitution because it did not abolish the slave trade and because he did not think it had necessary protection for the individual from the federal government.[2] He was sometimes known as the "reluctant statesman", which was also the title of a biography written about him by Robert A. Rutland.[3]

History[edit]

The memorial was authorized by Public Law 101-358 on August 10, 1990, to be developed by the board of regents of Gunston Hall.[4] The landscape architect was Faye B. Harwell and the sculptor was Wendy M. Ross. The groundbreaking was October 18, 2000, and the completed memorial was dedicated on April 9, 2002.[2]

Administration[edit]

The George Mason Memorial is currently administered as part of the National Park Service and is within the jurisdiction of the National Mall and Memorial Parks.[2] The George Mason Memorial, the Jefferson Memorial, and the D.C. War Memorial are the only three National Mall sites where weddings are permitted.[5]

Location[edit]

Panorama of the cherry blossoms at the Tidal Basin, the location of the memorial.[6]

The memorial is at 900 Ohio drive, one of several outdoor public art installations within Ward 2 of the District. It is located near the intersection of Ohio Drive and East Basin Drive.[7] The site is within the southwest quadrant of the District of Columbia, within West Potomac Park.[7] The memorial is in an area most commonly referred to as the Tidal Basin. [8]

Sculpture[edit]

Close-up view of the statue[9]

The design features a 72-foot (22 m) long stone wall with a one-third larger than life-sized statue[10] of a sitting Mason, his legs crossed, and a circular pool with a fountain.[2]

Inscriptions[edit]

Memorial inscription[11]

The circular hedges and pool are supported by a 9 ft × 72 ft (2.7 m × 21.9 m) trellis that curves around the back of the memorial. [2] Underneath the trellis are three walls with inscriptions that are 4 feet (1.2 m) high,[2] which include the following quotes:

"This was George Mason, a man of the first order of wisdom among those who acted on the theatre of the revolution, of expansive mind, profound judgment, cogent in argument.... Thomas Jefferson, 1821" [2]

"Regarding slavery.... that slow poison, which is daily contaminating the minds and morals of our people. Every gentlemen here is born a petty tyrant. Practiced in acts of despotism and cruelty, we become callous to the dictates of humanity, and all the finer feelings of the soul. Taught to regard a part of our own species in the most abject and contemptible degree below us, we lose that idea of the dignity of man, which the hand of nature had implanted in us, for great and useful purposes.... George Mason, July 1773" [2]

"I recommend it to my sons.... never to let the motives of private interest or ambition to induce them to betray, nor the terrors of poverty and disgrace or the fear of danger or of death deter them from asserting the liberty of their country, and endeavoring to transmit to their posterity those sacred rights to which themselves were born. George Mason, March 1773" [2]

"All men are born equally free and independent, and have certain inherent natural rights... among which are the enjoyment of life and liberty, with the means of acquiring and possessing property, and pursuing and obtaining happiness and safety. George Mason, May 1776" [2]

"The first declaration of rights which truly deserves the name is that of Virginia... and its author is entitled to the eternal gratitude of mankind. Marquis de Condorcet, Paris 1789" [2]

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ December 2014
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l Jarvis 2016b.
  3. ^ Rutland 1980.
  4. ^ 101st Congress 1990.
  5. ^ Ruyle 2012; Montgomery 2015.
  6. ^ Taken 23 July 2007
  7. ^ a b Jarvis 2014.
  8. ^ Coleman 2016 "... George Mason Memorial lies on the southern side of the Tidal Basin.".
  9. ^ December 2014
  10. ^ another bronze statue of George Mason can be found on the George Madon University campus in Fairfax, VA
  11. ^ December 2014

References[edit]

External links[edit]