Patrick Henry's Speech in the Convention

April 14, 2010
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Patrick Henry’s famous speech to the convention played a key role in swaying the colonies towards armed rebellion against the tyranny of Britain. His rhetoric, like many others of the time, was logical and convincing. His famous finish further reinforces the idea that independence was a preferably and necessary end to which he was devoted. Patrick Henry was influential in swaying the citizens of the United States to take up arms against the oppressive rule of Great Britain. Henry believed that revolution was the only logical choice for America, and his speech in the convention elucidated that opinion. Patrick Henry believed that revolution was the only logical choice for America because it was already too late to avoid revolution, if they did not revolt they would remain slaves to Britain, and America had the means and the proper cause to finally escape from the tyrannical government of Britain.

Towards the end of his speech in the convention, Patrick Henry brought up the intriguing point that it was already too late to avoid revolution. Patrick Henry says, “The war is inevitable-and let it come! I repeat it, sir, let it come”. While Patrick Henry’s earlier pleas may have fallen upon deaf ears, the members of the convention heard his shocking revelation, and thus they began to ponder over the prospect of having a revolution. This seeming insignificant statement was one of the most powerful in his whole speech to the convention. The Americans promptly realized that no matter how hard they may have tried, the revolution was inevitable and there was nothing they could do to stop it. Delving further into this statement, Patrick Henry was openly inviting the revolution to come to America. If the revolution was inevitable, Patrick Henry’s “inviting” of the revolution only accelerated the process by which the antagonism and conflict would reach them. Instead of putting up futile resistance and succumb to the despotism of Britain, they figured they might as well try to make a feeble attempt at resisting the British. The shocking bewilderment of an impending doom by the hands of the British aided in making revolution the only logical choice.

During the revolutionary era, slavery was commonplace through out the colonies, more specifically the South; with a majority of the colonists owning a slave to work for them. Patrick Henry used this fact to his advantage, saying, “Is life so dear or peace so sweet as to be purchased at the price of chains and slavery”. Patrick Henry was telling everyone that if they did not fight back against Britain, they would remain “slaves” to them. Many of the slave-holding colonists had a superiority complex, and the idea of becoming slaves to someone else did not agree well with them. Patrick Henry knew that the slaves were treated deplorably, and slave owners knew this too, so he was able to use this key point to his advantage. With another shocking dose of reality, the colonists realized that they would be treated like slaves also. Henry used the old moral principle of “Do unto others as you would do onto yourself” to make revolution seem even more logical. Patrick Henry fueled the fire in the proverbial hearths of the colonists, and indubitably furthered his cause.

While many Americans were sure that the revolution was the most logical choice at this time, many were unsure of if they had the right means and purpose to fight. Patrick Henry reassured the colonists by saying, “Sir, we are not weak, if we make a proper use of those means which the God of nature hath placed in our power. Three millions of people, armed in the holy cause of liberty, and in such a country as that which we possess, are invincible by any force which our enemy can send against us”. Patrick Henry was able to reassure the hearts and minds of the colonists, telling them that they were capable of fighting against the British. Henry told the colonists that they were fighting for independence, a cause so just that it could stand up to the might of the British. He further reassured them by telling them that they had God on their side, an advantage the British did not have. As we all know of the early colonial period, the belief in God was an important focal point in any person’s life, and the reassurance that God favored them was enough to make them support Henry’s cause. The extreme religious devotion characterized by this time period helper Henry significantly in his argument, and brought America one step closer to revolution.

In conclusion, Patrick Henry convinced the nation that revolution was their only logical choice. He argued that it was already too late to avoid revolution, if they did not revolt they would remain slaves to Britain, and America had the means and the proper cause to fight and finally escape from the tyrannical government of Britain. Patrick Henry masterfully used the fears, doubts, and insecurities of the nation as a whole to his advantage. He spun an intricate web of facts and uncertainties in such an eloquent manner that no one would have been able to discredit his cause. Patrick Henry was a key driving force behind the revolution, and without him, we may still swear allegiance to Britain.

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