Patrick Henry was an attorney, orator, and key participant in the American Revolution, well known for his remarks "Give me liberty or give me death!" and "I know not what course others may take, but as for me, gave that I may live my life freely, whether in prison or free, I shall be content.
These are the most famous quotes by Patrick Henry.
His renowned remarks were "Give me Liberty or Give me Death," which inspired the colonists to decide how they felt about the War of Independence. Patrick Henry's stirring words and firm conviction in liberty aided the American Revolution. His plea helped gain support for the cause from his fellow citizens and made him an influential leader in the fight for freedom.
Patrick Henry was born on April 5, 1736 in Richmond County, Virginia. His father was a wealthy planter and his mother was a poor but ambitious widow who worked hard to provide for her family. When Patrick was nine years old, the family moved to Williamsburg where he lived with his parents until he reached adulthood. During this time, he learned to be a lawyer and gained experience by assisting a judge. In 1775, when the American Revolutionary War began, he led troops in battle against the British army and was wounded at the war's first major battle, at Lexington. After recovering from his injury, he went back into battle at New York City and ended up being captured. He was held captive in England for almost two years before returning home to lead more battles for the American cause.
Upon his return home, Patrick Henry spoke in favor of independence before Congress nearly every day for several months. He also wrote many essays advocating for the colonist's right to self-determination.
Say it out loud: Patrick Henry, (born May 29 [May 18, Old Style], 1736, Studley [Virginia]—died June 6, 1799, Red Hill, near Brookneal, Virginia, U.S.), a superb orator and a significant player of the American Revolution, possibly best known for his lines "Give me liberty or give me death!" uttered in 1775. The quote has become part of the cultural lexicon.
Patrick Henry was born to Thomas and Mary Henry. His father was an attorney who had served as attorney general for the Colony of Virginia before becoming a judge. His mother was from a wealthy family; she died when Patrick was eight years old. He had two older brothers and one younger sister. When he was thirteen, his father died, leaving him to care for his siblings. This responsibility drove Henry to learn about law and politics. Two years later, at age fifteen, he took over his father's practice. In addition to legal work, he also worked on campaigns for local officials. In 1754, at the age of twenty, he married Sarah Willis Cunningham. She was a young widow with three children. The couple soon had four more together. During this time, Henry continued to work toward establishing himself in public life. In 1765, he was elected to the House of Burgesses, the colonial legislature for Virginia. Two years later, he was elected to the Continental Congress, where he advocated for independence from Great Britain.
Patrick Henry (May 29, 1736–June 6, 1799) was an American lawyer, landowner, politician, and orator most remembered for his proclamation before the Second Virginia Convention in 1775: "Give me liberty, or give me death!" He was a Founding Father who served as Virginia's first and sixth post-colonial Governor from 1776 to 1779.... He has been called the father of American patriotism and the "father of the Constitution".
Patrick Henry was born on May 29, 1736, in Henry County, Virginia. His parents were William Henry and Sarah Winston Henry. He had four siblings: Mary, William, Anne, and John. His family was not wealthy, but they owned several thousand acres of land.
When Patrick was 10 years old, his father died and his mother took him and his five remaining siblings to live with her family in Williamsburg, the capital of Virginia at the time. When Patrick was 14, his brother William joined them there and then went to college. The next year, another of their brothers, John, also came to Williamsburg and then went to school too. After graduating from college, William became a lawyer like their father and then moved away from home to set up practice in New York City.
Anne married a man named Carter who had large estates in Virginia and they had three children. After he died, she moved back home where she lived with her son Patrick who was now running the family business.
Take a look back at Patrick Henry's rousing comments during the 1775 Virginia Convention on the anniversary of his famous phrase, "Give me liberty or give me death!" His words still inspire Americans today.
They also inspired one of America's most renowned artists, John Trumbull. He painted an iconic portrait of Henry in 1806 when he was only twenty-five years old. The painting is now in the collection of the New York Historical Society.
Henry's speech has been quoted by presidents, senators, and other public figures. It is said that whenever America needs inspiration to fight for its values and continue down the path of freedom, Patrick Henry's words bring hope.
His statement "give me liberty or give me death!" has become part of the American lexicon. A few years after Henry's death, Congress passed a resolution calling him "the father of his country" because of his role in forming the American Revolution.
He had been chosen as the chief speaker at the Virginia Convention to discuss adopting a new government for their state. But before Henry could make his remarks, others took the floor instead. One of them was a young lawyer from Massachusetts named James Madison who had come to Virginia to take part in the convention but was forced to stay because of illness.
Patrick Henry, speaking at a Virginia assembly on March 23, 1775, supposedly cried, "Give me liberty, or give me death!" This foreshadowed the beginning of the Revolutionary War. It also helped inspire similar quotes around the world.
The words have been attributed to many others since, but none with as great an impact as Henry's first. They still appear on banners and flags today to represent the freedom found in America.
In addition to being quoted often, the phrase has appeared on coins, paper money, and even wine bottles. A popular example is seen on the back of the one dollar bill; it reads, "One dollar bill - no taxes! Just dollars!"
There are several theories about where Henry got his idea from. Some say it was a quotation by Cato the Elder while others claim it was Cicero. But what is known for sure is that Henry modified the quote by adding the word "liberty" and used it to advocate rebellion against the British government.
This act made him a target for arrest, but it also made him more influential than ever before.