Spark a Revolution | TeenInk

Spark a Revolution

December 10, 2019
By Anonymous

At the Virginia Convention in 1775, Patrick Henry gives a speech to inspire a revolution against Great Britain in which he uses the persuasive techniques of asking rhetorical questions and restatement as well as the rhetorical devices of pathos and logos within the persuasive techniques to urge the President to take up arms against the oppressive British. Henry uses rhetorical questions to make everyone at the convention start to think about a war against Britain. For example, Henry says “And what have we to oppose to them? Shall we try argument?” and “Have we anything new to offer on the subject? (Henry)” to jumpstart the thinking that there is no other option except war if the colonists want liberty and justice from Britain. He is not looking for an actual answer back, but by making the people come up with the answer themselves, they can see the true necessity of a revolution. Henry uses the marketing technique of logos in this quote because it makes people think for themselves and use logical reasoning to arrive at the conclusion that a war is necessary to gain independence. In addition to having the people at the Virginia Convention come to their own conclusions after internally answering the questions of what to do next, Henry also asks his audience “But when shall we be stronger? Will it be the next week, or the next year? Will it be when we are totally disarmed, and when a British guard shall be stationed in every house? (Henry)” Henry is explaining that waiting and deliberating on the topic of war does not do any good. Even if the president agrees with the idea of starting a revolution, Henry explains that they can not wait until the British take total control of the colonies to then make a move, rather that the colonies must move immediately if they wish to stand a chance. When asking these questions, Henry uses pathos to not only show his passion on the topic but also to inspire others. Because he is pointing out that the British are threatening the colonists’ freedom, Henry is cleverly riling up their spirit and desire for war. Patrick Henry’s use of rhetorical questions in his “Speech in the Virginia Convention” causes his audience and the President to realize for themselves the dire situation that they are in and how war is necessary to gain independence from Great Britain by also using the marketing techniques of pathos and logos to make an even stronger argument. 

Additionally, Patrick Henry uses the persuasive technique of restatement as well as the rhetorical device of pathos. Throughout his speech, Henry constantly restates that there is no time left nor another option apart from war to separate from the British: “There is no longer any room for hope (Henry).” In this quote, Henry uses logos to show logically that the colonists must make a move now to gain independence before they lose the chance. Restating the important conclusion stresses the importance of whatever the speaker is arguing, in this case, the colonists’ last resort of a revolution. In the speech, Henry also uses restatement by saying “Is life so dear, or peace so sweet, as to be purchased at the price of chains and slavery (Henry)?” In the speech, Henry repeatedly states that slavery will be the outcome if the colonists do not take up arms and fight for liberty. By saying this, Henry uses pathos to strike at the hearts of the colonists to show that their freedom is worth the sacrifice and risk of death. Using the technique of restatement in his “Speech in the Virginia Convention” and the marketing technique of logos and pathos, Patrick Henry shows that a war must be fought and suffering is necessary to gain freedom from Great Britain or their futures will be slavery and suffering.



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