Patrick Henry's Speech Matters Now

October 10, 2017
By naomitucker BRONZE, Austin, Texas
naomitucker BRONZE, Austin, Texas
4 articles 0 photos 0 comments

Henry evokes feelings of liberty from the people he is speaking to by highlighting the urgency of freedom from England, saying, “This is no time for ceremony.” He starts by establishing credibility and winning over the audience, so as to not come off as contempt or disrespectful. He says, “Should I keep back my opinions at such a time...I should consider myself as guilty of treason towards my country.” By using a technique of identifying with the people he is speaking to, he gains their support in the fight against Britain's tyranny over America. He continues his speech by showing the reason America should take action, and by listing complaints against the King of England and their rule over America. Henry uses a parallel structure to connect his ideas, further arousing an angry and defiant response from Americans who wish to be free as well.

Through the section of complaints against the King, Henry uses a parallel structure of rhetorical questions to show how Great Britain has responded to their complaints by sending armies to keep the colonies in accordance with their rules. This is an appeal to the Americans to take action instead of just accepting salutary neglect. He continues to say this while utilizing pathos to make the colonists feel the injustice they have been dealt. He says, “They tell us, sir, that we are weak; unable to cope with so formidable an adversary.” This appeal to emotion is further convincing and empowering the colonists to take a stand against England for the good of themselves and the future of their country. As a final statement, he says, “Give me liberty or give me death!” to show the extremity of the situation. This antithesis is a final cry to fight, take action, and become a free America.

This is America’s foundation: freedom. Currently, people are protesting The National Anthem for the purpose of Black Lives Matter. While the protesters have the right to protest, including Colin Kaepernick who publicly began these protests, it is protesting a symbol of their freedom rather than promoting Black Lives Matter. Separate from the purpose of Black Lives Matter, these protests are not only disrespectful, but discount the sacrifice American soldiers have taken to ensure the protesters’ (and all Americans’) rights. Freedom has always mattered for Americans and their livelihoods, yet is something that should not be taken for granted but rather considered and held with the utmost respect.

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