Although the framers drafted a constitution only designed to empower a small number of white male landowners, this was a rather revolutionary feat for a group of eighteenth century aristocrats. Men like Jefferson and Madison sought to create a society in which men could rise not because of their kinship ties, but because of their virtues. Moreover they included a Bill of Rights designed to protect basic rights—people were empowered to criticize a representative government they helped to elect. And most importantly, the framers promoted a spirit of republicanism and individual rights that was contagious. This spirit would come to impact slaves who sought freedom, women who sought suffrage, and gays and lesbians who seek equality under the law. The framers planted seeds of democratic governance that continue to flourish in the twenty-first century.