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To this day, this list of rights is the only reason we have not been stripped of our guns. It is the only vestige of protection between us and the government spies. It blazed the trail to crush the intolerable institution of slavery — a result that Mason quite purposely knew and predicted would come from his demand of individual liberties.

As paltry and violated as our state of freedom seems today, it has been worse for various people at various other times during our history. Every time, it was the light cast far forward by George Mason that each time led us home.

And so it will again. Which is why this Thanksgiving, we should all pay our respects to the forgotten founder at Gunston Hall.

Charlie Hurt can be reached at Follow him on Twitter at @charleshurt.