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A Founding Father's Roman History

1769

Virginian George Mason, a statesman and American patriot later known as the “Father of the Bill Rights,” acquired this volume of ancient Roman history by the author and historian Livy (Titus Livius) in 1769. Mason and other members of America’s founding generation were careful students of history, and looked to the example of ancient Rome for guidance on the structure and operation of republican government. George Mason died in 1792; his son, Thomson Mason, added his own signature and the year of his father’s passing to the title page at the time. Also visible is the faded ink inscription “Gunston,” the name of the Mason home on the banks of the Potomac River south of George Washington’s Mount Vernon.