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Analysis Of Patrick Henry's Speech To The Virginia Convention

842 words - 3 pages

“Give me liberty or give me death!” This statement from Patrick Henry’s “Speech to the Virginia Convention,” delivered to the House of Burgesses, has been quoted by many, becoming almost cliché. However, the declaration is truly understood by a select few. The unjust Stamp Act passed by the British crown in 1765, brought fame and notoriety to Henry as he spoke out against the unjust taxation without representation. Ten years later on the eve of revolution, Henry calls upon the Colonial government of which he is part, to act for the betterment of the people. Patrick Henry attempts to persuade the House of Burgesses to revolt and declare war against Britain by logically convincing them that it is their natural right to be free and calling on their patriotism and pride as leaders of colonial America.
Throughout his speech, Henry justifies his argument for going to war, by logically explaining himself to the leaders of the American colonies. Obviously “men often see the same subject in different light.” Therefore, Patrick Henry uses this in a step-by-step explanation of why he believes that the colonies should join together in revolt. He states, because men have different views, he wishes to express his own, without “be[ing] thought disrespectful,” to anyone in the House. This shows his call on logos, because he logically goes through a process of explaining why his opinion even matters to the House. Continuing, he asserts that because he has an outlook on the topic, he therefore should express that viewpoint, or he would consider himself, “guilty of treason.” He believes he would be hurting his country by not standing to assist it in the way he sees best fit. In addition to the previous example, as Henry is speaking, he asks, “What means this martial array?” then answers in the same sentence, “[clearly] its purpose be to force us to submission.” The question of why Britain would want to have a military presence in the colonies is made to seem logically answered by stating that the British occupation is to keep control over the colonists. As he goes on in his speech, he says that to not be free, would be worse than death. Therefore, according to Patrick Henry’s logical argument, and substitution, they must revolt, or face a condition worse than death.
Pathos or, playing on the emotions of the leaders of colonial America, is another tactic Henry draws on to convince them that revolution is essential. He uses the patriotism and pride of the colonial...

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