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Patrick Henry Biography

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Patrick Henry

Patrick Henry, born on 1736-1799 in Hanover County, was a leader in Virginia during the American Revolution for 30 years. He failed to became a storekeeper and a farmer, but accomplished to become a lawyer (at the age of 24), a revolutionary statesman, and as well an orator. He was called the greatest orators of liberty, prompting his fellow men to listen to his obsessive call towards independence against Britain. Henry was a major figure of the American Revolution and best known for the speech “Give me liberty or give me death”, delivered in 1775 during the second Virginia Convention at St. John's Church in Richmond, Virginia. The speech was the most famous oration in the history of America. It refers to patriotism in the American colonies and failed efforts to resolve relations with Great Britain. He was the one who oppose the taxation which was imposed by Britain and so that would lead to the American Revolution.

Patrick Henry is the most distinguished orator of the American Revolution and his effectiveness as a speaker gave him a powerful position in the legislature throughout his life. Henry entered the House of Burgesses in 1765 and he was quickly acclaimed because of his influencing speeches and his opposition to the British Parliament’s policies which stated that the power of tax belongs to the British Parliament only. His reputation as a lawyer and his power of using the words was so good that people came to courtrooms just to hear him speak. Here’s a small example of how his magical words hypnotized the people listening to him,

‘Blue eyes flashing, Patrick made his listeners forget everything but the points he was making. One ob¬server, sitting in a balcony, became so lost in Patrick’s words that he accidentally spit tobacco juice on the people below. Then the man almost toppled over the railing himself!’

In 1774, when the royal governor Lord Dunmore dissolved the Virginia Legislature, Henry called out to the remaining part of the legislature and the delegates from other colonies to meet in Williamsburg. At another meeting of the Virginia assembly in Richmond in 1775 , he pleaded to the colonists to arm themselves and to exhibit their united power to the British parliament and his words ‘ give me liberty or give me death’ swept the listeners off their feet.

In his speech, he addresses the issue as a ‘question of freedom or slavery’ that the Britain have been taking advantage of the laws made by them and for them for many years now and they have made them slaves except that they are not chained like the slaves. He stresses on their right to exercise their freedom of speech. He said that if he doesn’t speak for himself and his countrymen now then he’s being dishonest towards his country.

‘And judging by the past, I wish to know what there has been in the

conduct of the British ministry for the last ten years to justify those

hopes with which gentlemen have been pleased to solace themselves

and the House.’

He reminds people that they have been living with false hopes that the British ministry is in their favor, instead they only believe in placing laws and then making sure people abide by them or if there’s any opposition, they would brutally use the power of army to make them surrender. He explains the people to stop living in an illusion that the British army and fleets have been called to protect them or to fight with another enemy. They are actually meant to use their force to curtail people’s freedom of speech so there’s only one law followed in the jungle, the law of the



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