Patrick Henry A Brief Overview Essay Research

Patrick Henry A Brief Overview Essay, Research Paper

Patrick Henry

Patrick Henry was a great patriot. He never used his fists or guns to fight for his country, but he used a much more powerful weapon at which he held great skill: his words. Possibly the greatest orator of his time, his speeches such as “Give Me Liberty or Give Me Death” struck a cord in the American spirit of those who opposed oppression and tyranny.

Henry was born on May 29th, 1736 in Studley, Virginia. His schooling was basic; elementary school, then trained in the classics by his father. His father, John Henry was an well-educated Scotsman who was a surveyor, colonel, and justice of the local county court. Still young, Patrick Henry first took up storekeeping in which he failed twice, and then farming which also proved unsuccessful. Despite his early struggles he then married Sara Shelton, and with the new responsibilities of marriage he took up the practice of law. He was naturally talented in the new job and soon found himself very successful.

The first signs of his “oratorical genus” were shown in case in which he represented Virginia asking for a change of law that had been disallowed by King George III. After this case he was soon accepted as a member of the House of Burgesses. There he delivered another famous speech opposing the Stamp Act. After concluded this speech calls of “Treason! Treason!” rang though the hall, but Henry replied “If this be treason, make the most of it.” Thus began the life of the Patriot Patrick Henry.

Henry had strong involvement in the rebellion from England all the way from his speech opposing the Stamp Act through the end of the revolutionary war. He was on Virginia first Committee of Correspondence, a delegate in the Continental Congresses, and was commander of Virginian forces during wartime.

During wartime he devised strategies that were not looked high upon by his over lookers and he decided to resign from his post in early 1776. After leaving military duty he helped draft the first constitution of the state of Virginia, the same year he was elected governor the first three times for one-year terms. Although resigned from the American Military he still gave General Washington his full support, and authorized the invasion of Illinois by George Rogers Clark.

After the death of his first wife he soon remarried then retired, but several times he was called back into public service. First to the Virginia state legislature in 1784, and then as governor from 1784 until 1786. He decided not to attend the Philadelphia Constitutional convention of 1787, and was the leading opponent of the newly drafted U.S. Constitution. Partially because he believed it did not grant enough freedoms to individuals and enough rights to states. But after the creation of the Bill of Rights (In which he had much involvment), Henry was satisfied and returned to a strong position in politics.

In his last speech before his death, he was still calling for the unification of the colonies and he still carried the same oratorical prowess that he had as a young man. The same ability that led to American independence.


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