And, while most of the speech is a reconstruction based on other people's fuzzy, twenty-five-year-old memories, everyone seemed to recall the last line verbatim. That's probably because the last line of the speech is "Give me liberty or give me death," (we had to put it in one more time). And nobody—not after twenty-five years, not after two hundred and fifty—forgets a sentence that insanely inspirational.
And there's a really good reason for this: if was the written word of the Revolution, Patrick Henry was its spoken voice. The idea that liberty is more important than life—and is maybe the most important thing about the United States of America—entered the American imagination with Patrick Henry's words.
Yet, this is not true, especially for Patrick Henry.
After Henry spoke, the Second Virginia Convention approved five of his resolutions, with the result that Virginia formed a militia. The first shots of the American Revolution were fired at Lexington and Concord, Massachusetts less than a month later, and within a few hours of those battles (and before he could have heard of them), Henry mobilized the Virginia militia to force Virginia governor to give back the gunpowder he had seized in response to Henry's speech.
analysis of patrick henry essays - …
But if you ask them if they know who Patrick Henry is, their eyes will probably light up. And if you ask them, "Complete the sentence: give me liberty or…" they'll probably jump up onto the nearest table, shout "Give me death!" put on a tri-cornered hat, wave an American flag, and start weeping in a fit of patriotic fervor.
analysis of patrick henry essays
But here's the thing about the speech we have today: it's not necessarily the one Henry gave. He didn't write his speech down, and no one else did either. So how do we have it? In 1808, nine years after Patrick Henry's death, , who was three years old in 1775, began research for a Henry biography. He asked people who were there what Henry had said.
Patrick Henry's "Give Me Liberty Or Give Me Death" …
Patrick Henry's Speech to the Virginia Convention Huma Ashai
Michelle Hermes SUMMARY Patrick Henry is addressing the Virginia Convention, specifically President Peyton Randolph, on March 23, 1775.
Speaks of Patrick Henry and Martin Luther King, Jr
On March 23rd, 1775, Patrick Henry stood up to encourage the Second Virginia Convention to approve raising and arming a militia for "self-defense." He argued that the colonies had sought redress of grievances (a fancy term for the king saying sorry and fixing things) peacefully for as long as possible. He argued that all those soldiers Great Britain had been sending were clearly not on a peacekeeping mission. He argued that the longer the colonies waited to start a war, the weaker their position would be. And he wound up with the most famous line of the speech—you know, where he says he's willing to die for liberty.
Patrick Henry Speech To Virginia Convention - …
This isn't to say that America—or even Patrick Henry—is 100% freedom-fueled awesomeness. America has done some shameful things (like, say, slavery) and so did Patrick Henry (like, say, owning slaves).