Patrick Henry Delivers Famous Speech 

Patrick Henry Delivers Famous Speech 

U.S. #1052 – Henry stamp from the Liberty Series.

On March 23, 1775, Patrick Henry addressed the Second Virginia Convention to convince them to raise a militia.

Virginia native Patrick Henry was a prominent statesman best remembered for his fiery speeches that helped inspire the American Revolution. Henry was born in Hanover County, Virginia, and attended public schools for a short time. Although he was quite capable intellectually, it was generally understood that Henry lacked ambition at an early age. His father assumed responsibility for Henry’s education, and eventually set the young man up with a business that he soon bankrupted.

Henry received his license to practice law after just six weeks of study and quickly made a name for himself in a lawsuit known as the “Parson’s Cause.” The case concerned the question of whether the price of tobacco paid to clergy for their services should be set by the Colonial government or the Crown. In a brilliant oration, Henry cited a basic constitutional principle in English law, which held that only a representative assembly had the power to levy taxes on the people it represents. Because the colonists had no representation in the assembly, Henry argued, the King had no right to tax them. The first seeds of revolution were sown with Henry’s courtroom victory over the English crown.

In 1765, Henry was elected to the Virginia House of Burgesses (the legislative body of the Virginia colony.) He soon became a leader and advocated the causes of less fortunate individuals against the old aristocracy. Henry also upheld the rights given to the colonies in their charters.

Henry proposed the Virginia Stamp Act Resolutions in 1765, which continued his argument against taxation without representation. He extended the argument to assert that the Colonial assemblies had the exclusive right to tax the colonies and could not assign those rights to the Crown. As accusations of treason rose from the assembly, Henry is said to have proclaimed, “If this be treason, make the most of it.”

U.S. #1144 was part of the American Credo series, honoring the ideals America was founded upon and the individuals who inspired them.

Henry is best known for his March 23, 1775, speech to the Second Virginia Convention in Richmond. Days earlier Henry presented a number of resolutions supporting his idea that they needed to raise a militia. However, several present opposed his idea, believing they should be cautious and wait until the British crown replied to Congress’ most recent petition for peace.

The deeply divided house was close to deciding against committing troops when Henry rose to speak. He ended the profound speech with his most famous words, “I know not what course others may take, but as for me, give me liberty or give me death!” The speech is credited with convincing Virginians to join the Revolutionary War.

Patrick Henry led a military force from Virginia during the Revolutionary War. Then, in 1776, he was elected to the first of five terms as Virginia’s governor. Two years later, Henry voted in opposition of the U.S. Constitution. However, he accepted its ultimate ratification and was instrumental in framing its first 10 amendments, which are known as the Bill of Rights. Henry died at his estate in Brookneal, Virginia, in 1799.

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7 responses to "Patrick Henry Delivers Famous Speech "

7 thoughts on “Patrick Henry Delivers Famous Speech ”

  1. How the American Republic Died at Philadelphia in 1787
    March 26, 2010
    Gary Rea

    At the time the Articles of Confederation and Perpetual Union (Articles of Confederation, for short) were written, in 1776-1777, and for the first two years following their ratification in 1781, the states were at war with Britain. It was during this conflict – against the world’s largest military force – that the Articles were put to the test. They proved to serve the young fledgling republic well through the remainder of the war, which had begun in 1775, when no union yet existed and each state was free and independent of the other states. In fact, when a convention was called for, to be conducted in May of 1787 in Philadelphia, for the stated purpose of revising the Articles of Confederation to “perfect” them and create a “stronger government,” there was much dissent against this, which is typified by this quote from none other than Patrick Henry, who was among the Anti-Federalists who opposed the Federalist’s Constitution:

    “The Confederation; this same despised [by the Federalists] Government, merits, in my opinion, the highest encomium: it carried us through a long and dangerous war: it rendered us victorious in the that bloody conflict with a powerful nation: it has secured us a territory greater than that any Monarch possesses: And shall a Government which has been thus strong and vigorous, be accused of imbecility and abandoned for want of energy?”

    The deck was deliberately stacked against the defenders of the young republic. Of the 55 delegates to the Convention, 41 were politicians and 34 were lawyers, mostly from the mercantile cities and not the countryside. According to Maryland delegate James McHenry, at least 21 of the 55 delegates favored some form of monarchy. The authors of the “Virginia Plan,” which included Hamilton and was composed of those who had orchestrated the Convention, in the first place, actually favored abolishing the states. Hamilton is quoted as saying that the states “…might gradually dwindle to nothing.” James Madison, Freemason and Federalist, proposed that the states be “reduced to corporations.” Governor Morris of Pennsylvania said, “This country must be united. If persuasion does not unite, the sword will.”

    Only 8 of the signers of the Declaration of Independence attended and only 6 of the signers of the Articles of Confederation were there. Jefferson and John Adams were in Europe, Patrick Henry refused to attend, and Thomas Paine, Samuel Adams and Christopher Gadsen were not chosen as delegates. 14 of the delegates would later resign from the Convention in disgust and go home. So, the remaining 41 delegates, acting against their charter to merely revise the Articles of Confederation, instead scrapped it and replaced it with the foundation of what has become today, unquestionably an empire serving the interests of an international elite. And that, my fellow Americans, is how our republic was murdered in its infancy 223 years ago.

    Read Gary Rea’s complete article :

  2. Patrick Henry, one of my heroes. Eloquent, intelligent, a member of the extraordinary group of men that founded out country.

  3. To Mystic Stamp Company–Please keep up the good work!!! Being a Professor Emeritus, I assign Mystic Stamp Company an “A” for the day!!! It is nice to read a daily account on the history of our great country. Patrick Henry had a major influence on the development of the United States. Patrick Henry transformed us into patriots with a cause “Give me liberty or give me death.” Thank you Mystic Stamp Company for helping us remember our beginnings and our history. History is about the great people who made it. Best Regards Dr. Doug

  4. Wouldn’t it be great if we had bold American patriots like Patrick Henry today in Congress instead of a bunch of sissy wimps!


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