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The American Revolution Anniversary

Today is the 232nd anniversary of the inauguration of the American Revolution. It was on May 15, 1776 that Virginia’s ruling revolutionary May Convention adopted the resolutions that Virginians understood, according to young James Madison, as launching the ship of independence.

The first of the Virginians’ resolutions called for the adoption of a declaration of rights. The committee appointed to draft that declaration, chaired by George Mason of Gunston Hall, soon reported a document establishing the Lockean foundation of Virginia’s assertion of home rule. All men are born free and equal, it said, and when they enter into a state of society, they cannot be deprived of their basic rights.

The balance of the Declaration of Rights was devoted to explaining the relationship between citizens and government and to enshrining some of the basic rights of Englishmen, such as the right to trial by jury and the right to have militia, not professional soldiers, be the government’s first recourse.
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