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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. They looked to the example of ancient Rome for guidance on the structure and operation of republican government. After 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. 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.

Object Details

  • Titi Livii Historiarum Volumen Tertium
    Printed by J. and R. Tonson and J. Watts
    London, England
    1749
    Paper, Leather, Ink
    Museum of the American Revolution
    2003.00.0663 

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The Museum owns five English law books that are listed in Patrick Henry’s 1799 estate inventory. Three books still bear Henry’s printed bookplate.
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Common Sense and Plain Truth

London publisher John Almon bundled Thomas Paine's Common Sense and James Chalmer's rebuke, Plain Truth, in this June 1776 edition for British readers.
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Baron von Steuben's Regulations

This system of drills for soldiers was developed by officer Baron von Steuben during the American Revolution and was used through the War of 1812.
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