Patrick Henry and “Give Me Liberty!” | National Humanities Center

America in Class Lessons

Patrick Henry and “Give Me Liberty!”

By Cave, Karen Carroll (NHC Education Digital Projects Coordinator, 2016–18)

In 1775 American independence was not a foregone conclusion. While there had been unrest and resistance in Massachusetts with scattered acts of support from other areas, no organized movement toward revolution existed across the Colonies. Virginia ranked among the largest, wealthiest, and most populous colonies in 1775, and her political and military support for independence would be crucial for success. In this speech Patrick Henry (1736–1799) uses powerful rhetoric to convince influential, affluent, landed men of Virginia with much to lose to move past their current diplomatic posture opposing British aggression to the more treasonous one of open military preparedness.

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History / Education Studies / American History / Speeches / Rhetoric / Thirteen Colonies / American Revolution / Primary Sources /