Patrick Henry

by Sydney from Laguna Beach

''Give me Liberty or Give me Death''

Patrick Henry was born on May 29, 1736 in Hanover County Virginia. He was born on a tobacco plantation and was the second of eleven children. His parents' names were Sarah and John Henry. His father did a lot. He was a farmer, a judge, a surveyor, and a soldier. Henry grew up liking mathematics and history, but he loved guns more than books.

When Patrick was sixteen he and his brother William set up their own store. Their business wasn't very successful so they had to shut it down. About two years later Patrick got married to a wonderful woman named Sarah. Patrick was eighteen and Sarah was sixteen. A few years later Henry opened his second store. Though he was busy, people usually stopped by to talk instead of buy things. So, when his second store failed he wanted to become a lawyer. In 1760 he passed his exams and was a lawyer. And finally he was a success.

On December 1, 1763 he tried his first big case and it was the Parson's Cause. The King of England agreed with the Parsons and took away the law passed by the people of Virginia. Patrick Henry became famous and was made a member of the House of Burgesses. In 1763 the French and Indian War ended and the King of England passed a law called the Stamp Act to help pay for the war. Henry spoke against the Stamp Act many times. The House of Burgesses also objected to the Stamp Act and so did many other colonies. In the years 1774 - 1775 Henry was a member of the first Continental Congress.

On March 23, 1775 Patrick Henry made the biggest speech of his life. The famous words he spoke were "Give me Liberty or Give me Death" which motivated the colonists to make up their minds about how they felt about the War of Independence. Henry strongly felt that the colonists should fight for their freedom if the king would not give them their rights. During the war he acted as governor of Virginia.

Even though Patrick Henry supported liberty for the colonies, he disagreed with the Constitution. He thought that it gave the federal government too much power. The Constitution was passed, but Henry's and others' concerns led to the Bill of Rights being passed, which protected individual rights. Patrick Henry died on June 6, 1799 and was buried at Red Hill, Charlotte County, Virginia. Patrick Henry contributed to the American Revolution through his moving speeches and his belief in freedom.

Page created on 2/3/2006 12:00:00 AM

Last edited 2/3/2006 12:00:00 AM

Related Links

Patrick Henry - Timeline and speeches by Patrick Henry