The Virginia Declaration of Rights, drafted by George Mason as a preamble to the Virginia Constitution, is–along with the Declaration of Independence that followed a month later–the clearest statement of the social contract theory of government found in major early American documents.

June 12, 1776

A declaration of rights made by the Representatives of the good people of Virginia, assembled in full and free Convention; which rights do pertain to them and their posterity, as the basis and foundation of Government.

Section 1. That all men are by nature equally free and independent, and have certain inherent rights, of which, when they enter into a state of society, Read more