Mason, George; 1725-1792; judge and statesman; member Va. legislature, 1759 and a leader in the cause of American rights in opposition to British tyranny; author “Fairfax Resolves,” 1774;
member Va. Convention, 1775 and 1776– when he drafted Va. Declaration of Rights and a good part of Va. ”Constitution;” in Va. legislature 1776-1780 and later; active in work leading up to 1787 Convention which framed U.S. Constitution, also as a member; did not sign Constitution and opposed ratification due to fear of inadequate limits on Federal power to prevent its becoming tyrannical; urged addition of “Bill of Rights;” was one of principal slave-owners (including Washington and Jefferson) who deplored existence of slavery and favored abolition, with compensation by government to owners of freed slaves.
Samuel Adams, lawyer, business man, statesman; pre-1776 leader in Boston for ”Liberty and Independence,” notably as early as 1764 in opposing the Stamp Act; a leader of Mass. legislature 1765-1774, then a member (until 1781) of the Continental Congress, in which he continued to be a leader for ”Liberty and Independence;”
author and co-author of many famous “Liberty” writings, including documents of the Mass. legislature and Resolutions of Town of Boston; signer of Declaration of Independence; member of Mass. Constitutional
Convention 1779-1780 which framed history’s first true Constitution; member for years of Mass. Senate and Council; member of Mass. Convention which ratified U.S. Constitution, 1788; Lt. Governor 1789- 1793, then Governor until 1797.
Ethan Allen (1738-1789), the folk hero of Vermont, was an unusually flamboyant farmer-turned statesman from Connecticut. In the 1760′s, the royal governor of New Hampshire, with no clear authority to do so, began to grant lands in the region now known
as Vermont. After the King decided that New York’s governor wielded the rightful authority over the territory, the original settlers and their townships were subjected to burdensome New York fees; in some cases settlers found their lands confiscated. Not surprisingly, the settlers formed a citizens’ militia, the Green Mountain Boys, to protect their rights and chances of survival, electing Ethan Allen as their colonel. Ethan’s leadership and personality helped give Vermont the self identity and independent spirit which, many think, remains to this day.
But the Allen family, its friends and supporters did still more. Ethan was the guiding spirit in the taking of Fort Ticonderoga, the first Crown property to fall to America and the source of the cannon that allowed George Washington to drive the British from Boston.