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George Mason

George Mason (December 11, 1725 – October 7, 1792) was a Virginia planter, politician, and delegate to the U.S. Constitutional Convention of 1787, one of three men who refused to sign. He served in the pro-independence Fourth Virginia Convention of 1775 and the Fifth Virginia Convention of 1776, during which he wrote much of the Virginia Declaration of Rights; this later served as a basis for the Bill of Rights, of which he has been deemed the father. Named one of his state's delegates to the 1787 Constitutional Convention, Mason traveled to Philadelphia, his only lengthy trip outside Virginia, and was active in the convention for months before deciding he could not sign the final draft. Although he lost his fight to add a bill of rights there, and again at the Virginia Ratifying Convention of 1788, his efforts led his fellow Virginian James Madison to introduce one during the First Congress in 1789, and it was ratified in 1791, a year before Mason died. Long obscure, Mason is today recognized for his contributions to the founding texts of Virginia and the United States. (Full article...)

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Queen Liliuokalani with her dog Poni
Queen Liliuokalani with her dog Poni

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On this day...

December 11: Mawlid begins at sunset (Sunni Islam, 2016); Republic Day in Burkina Faso (1958)

Monument to the workers of the Shuliavka Republic
Monument to the workers of the Shuliavka Republic
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Mass grave

A mass grave of 26 Republican victims killed by Nationalists in 1936 during the Spanish Civil War. This grave was excavated in Estépar, Burgos, in 2014.

Generally speaking, mass graves contain multiple bodies that may or may not be identified prior to burial. They may be seen after violent conflict or be dug for sanitation reasons after a major famine, epidemic, or natural disaster.

Photograph: Mario Modesto Mata

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