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Encyclopedia > Patrick Henry
Patrick Henry
Order: 1st VA Governor
6th VA Governor
Term of Office: 1776—1779
Followed: (none)
Benjamin Harrison V
Succeeded by: Thomas Jefferson
Edmund Randolph

Patrick Henry (May 29, 1736June 6, 1799) was a prominent figure in the American Revolution, known and remembered primarily for his stirring oratory. Along with Samuel Adams and Thomas Paine, he was one of the most influential (and radical) advocates of the American Revolution. Download high resolution version (610x737, 350 KB) Patrick Henry by George Bagby Matthews Oil on canvas, 1891 ca. ... Benjamin Harrison V Benjamin Harrison (V) (April 5, 1726 – April 24, 1791) was an American planter and revolutionary leader from Charles City County, Virginia. ... Thomas Jefferson (April 13, 1743 N.S. – July 4, 1826) was the third President of the United States (1801–1809), principal author of the Declaration of Independence (1776), and one of the most influential Founding Fathers of the United States. ... Edmund Jennings Randolph (August 10, 1753 – September 12, 1813) was an American attorney, Governor of Virginia, Secretary of State, and the first United States Attorney General. ... May 29 is the 149th day of the year in the Gregorian calendar (150th in leap years). ... Events January 26 - Stanislaus I of Poland abdicates his throne. ... June 6 is the 157th day of the year in the Gregorian calendar (158th in leap years), with 208 days remaining. ... 1799 was a common year starting on Tuesday (see link for calendar). ... The American Revolution was a revolution that ended two centuries of rule in Thirteen Colonies of North America by the British Empire and created the modern United States of America. ... Oratory is the art of eloquent speech. ... Samuel Adams (September 27, 1722 – October 2, 1803) was an American Patriot and organizer of the Boston Tea Party. ... Thomas Paine Thomas Paine (January 29, 1737 – June 8, 1809), intellectual, scholar, revolutionary, deist and idealist. ...



The picture of Henry by Peter F. Rothermel shows Henry throwing down his almighty power in hand or glove, which is a traditional sign for a fight. Trained as an attorney, and noted for his heated oratorical skills, this Virginian first made a name for himself in a case dubbed the "Parson's Cause" (1763) which was an argument on whether the price of tobacco paid to clergy for their services should be set by the colonial government or by the Crown. Henry won the case but damages were set at such a nominally low level that the result was a victory for the independence movement, to the consternation of the British government. Perhaps in part because of his success in this venture, Henry was elected to the House of Burgesses (the legislative body of the Virginia colony) in 1765. That same year, he proposed the Virginia Stamp Act Resolutions. The freshman representative waited for an opportunity where the mostly conservative members of the House were away (only 24% was considered sufficient for a quorum). In this atmosphere, he succeeded, through much debate and persuasion, in getting his proposal passed. It was possibly the most anti-British (many called it "treasonous") American political action to that point, and some credit the Resolutions with being one of the main catalysts of the Revolution. The proposals were based on principles that were well established British rights, such as the right to be taxed by one's own representatives. They went further, however, to assert that the colonial assemblies had the exclusive right to impose taxes on the colonies and could not assign that right. The imputation of treason is due to his inflammatory words, "Caesar had his Brutus; Charles the First his Cromwell; and George the Third—" [Cries of "Treason! Treason!"] "George the Third may profit by their example. If this be treason, make the most of it." Official language(s) English Capital Richmond Largest city Virginia Beach Area  Ranked 35th  - Total 42,793 sq. ... The Parsons Cause was an important legal and political dispute often viewed as an important event lea]]ding up to the American Revolution. ... Patrick Henry before the House of Burgesses in an 1851 painting by Peter F. Rothermel The House of Burgesses was the lower house of the Colony of Virginia. ... Patrick Henrys speech on the Virginia Resolves (an 1851 painting by Peter F. Rothermel) The Virginia Resolves were a series of resolutions passed by the Virginia General Assembly in response to the Stamp Act of 1765. ...

Patrick Henry's "Treason" speech before the House of Burgesses in an 1851 painting by Peter F. Rothermel
Patrick Henry's "Treason" speech before the House of Burgesses in an 1851 painting by Peter F. Rothermel

According to biographer Richard Beeman, the legend of this speech grew more dramatic over the years. Henry probably did not say the famous last line of the above quote, i.e. "If this be treason, make the most of it." The only account of the speech written down at the time by an eyewitness (which came to light many years later) records that Henry actually apologized after being accused of uttering treasonable words, assuring the House that he was still loyal to the king. Nevertheless, Henry's passionate, radical speech caused quite a stir at the time, even if we cannot be certain of his exact words. Image File history File links Download high resolution version (580x750, 116 KB) Summary From: http://cgfa. ... Image File history File links Download high resolution version (580x750, 116 KB) Summary From: http://cgfa. ...

Henry is perhaps best known for the speech he made in the House of Burgesses on March 23, 1775, urging that legislature to take military action against the encroaching British military force. The House was deeply divided, but was very much leaning toward not committing troops. As Henry stood in Saint John's Church in Richmond, Virginia, he ended his speech with his most famous words; March 23 is the 82nd day of the year in the Gregorian Calendar (83rd in Leap years). ... 1775 was a common year starting on Sunday (see link for calendar). ... Saint Johns Church on a winter day. ... Nickname River City Motto Sic Itur Ad Astra Location Location in the Commonwealth of Virginia Government Country State County United States Virginia Independent City Mayor L. Douglas Wilder Geographical characteristics Area  - Total  - Land  - Water 62. ...

Is life so dear, or peace so sweet, as to be purchased at the price of chains and slavery? Forbid it, Almighty God! I know not what course others may take; but as for me, give me liberty or give me death!

The crowd jumped up and shouted "To Arms! To Arms!". This speech is credited by some with single-handedly delivering the Virginia troops to the Revolutionary War. Problematically, the text of this speech did not appear in print until 1817, in the biography Life and Character of Patrick Henry by William Wirt. Although Wirt assembled his book from recollections by persons close to the events, some historians have since speculated that the speech, or at least the form with which we are familiar, was essentially written by Wirt decades after the fact. Give me liberty or give me death is a famous quote from a speech made by Patrick Henry to the Virginia House of Burgesses. ... The American Revolutionary War (1775–1783), also known as the American War of Independence, was a war fought primarily between Great Britain and revolutionaries within thirteen of her North American colonies. ... William Wirt (November 8, 1772 – February 18, 1834) was an American author and statesman who is credited with turning the position of United States Attorney General into one of influence. ...

Early in the Revolutionary War, Henry led militia against Royal Governor Lord Dunmore in defense of some disputed gunpowder, an event known as the Gunpowder Incident. During the war, he served as the first post-colonial Governor of Virginia, from 1776-79, an office he held again from 1784-86. Combatants American Revolutionaries, France, Netherlands, Spain, Native Americans Great Britain, German mercenaries, Loyalists, Native Americans Commanders George Washington, Comte de Rochambeau, Nathanael Greene William Howe, Henry Clinton, Charles Cornwallis (more commanders) The American Revolutionary War (1775–1783), also known as the American War of Independence,[1] was a conflict that... Lord Dunmore John Murray, 4th Earl of Dunmore (1730–February 25, 1809) was the British governor of the Province of New York from 1770 to 1771 and the Virginia Colony, from September 25, 1771 until just before the American Revolutionary War began in June 1775. ... Drawing of the octagonal Williamsburg Magazine The Gunpowder Incident (also known as the Gunpowder Affair) was a conflict early in the American Revolutionary War between Lord Dunmore, the Royal Governor of colonial Virginia, and militia led by Patrick Henry. ... Tim Kaine, the current Governor The Governor of Virginia serves as the chief executive of the Commonwealth of Virginia for a four-year term. ...

After the Revolution, Henry was an outspoken critic of the United States Constitution and urged against its adoption, arguing it gave the federal government too much power. As a leading Antifederalist, he was instrumental in the adoption of the Bill of Rights to amend the new Constitution. He became a strong opponent of James Madison. By the late 1790s he was a prominent Federalist in support of Washington and Adams. The irony is that most of his followers became Republicans who supported Jefferson's party. President George Washington offered him the post of Secretary of State in 1795, which he declined. In 1798 President John Adams nominated him special emissary to France, which he had to decline because of failing health. He strongly supported John Marshall and at the urging of Washington stood for the House of Delegates in 1799 as a staunch Federalist. He especially denounced the Virginia and Kentucky Resolutions, which had been secretly written by Jefferson and Madison, and approved by the legislatures of those two states. He warned that civil war was threatened because Virginia, "had quitted the sphere in which she had been placed by the Constitution, and, in daring to pronounce upon the validity of federal laws, had gone out of her jurisdiction in a manner not warranted by any authority, and in the highest degree alarming to every considerate man; that such opposition, on the part of Virginia, to the acts of the general government, must beget their enforcement by military power; that this would probably produce civil war, civil war foreign alliances, and that foreign alliances must necessarily end in subjugation to the powers called in." He was elected but died three months later before taking his seat. [Tyler, 413-20] He died at Red Hill Plantation, Virginia, in 1799 at the age of 63. Page I of the Constitution of the United States of America The United States Constitution is the supreme law of the United States of America. ... The Anti-Federalist Party, though not a true political party, but a faction, left a major legacy on the country by initiating the Bill of Rights. ... Image of the United States Bill of Rights from the U.S. National Archives and Records Administration. ... James Madison (March 16, 1751 – June 28, 1836) was the fourth (1809–1817) President of the United States. ... John Adams (October 30, 1735 – July 4, 1826) was the first (1789–1797) Vice President of the United States, and the second President of the United States, whose term lasted from 1797 to 1801. ... John Marshall (September 24, 1755 – July 6, 1835) was an American statesman and jurist who greatly influenced American constitutional law. ... The Kentucky and Virginia Resolutions, also known as the Virginia and Kentucky Resolves, were passed in opposition to the Alien and Sedition Acts. ...

Monuments and memorials

His home and gravesite has been designated Red Hill Patrick Henry National Memorial. The United States Navy submarine USS Patrick Henry (SSBN-599) and the CSS Patrick Henry of the Confederate Navy were named in his honor, as was the first WWII Liberty ship, the SS Patrick Henry. Emory & Henry College in Emory, Va., Patrick Henry High School in Ashland, Virginia and Patrick Henry College in Purcellville, VA are also named in his honor. Helped establish Hampden-Sydney College in Virginia. The 10th oldest institution of higher education today, 6 of Patrick Henry's sons graduated from Hampden-Sydney. Also, William Henry Harrison graduated from the College in 1791. The still all male college continues to represent what Patrick Henry stood for. Red Hill Patrick Henry National Memorial near Brookneal, Virginia honors Patrick Henry, the fiery legislator and orator of the American Revolution. ... The United States Navy (USN) is the branch of the United States armed forces responsible for conducting naval operations around the globe. ... German UC-1 class World War I submarine A model of Gunter Priens Unterseeboot 47 (U-47), German WWII Type VII diesel-electric hunter-killer (SSK) submarine USS Virginia, a Virginia-class nuclear attack (SSN) submarine A submarine is a specialized watercraft that can operate underwater. ... USS Patrick Henry (SSBN/SSN-599), christened after a American Revolutionary War figure by the same name, was a George Washington-class fleet ballistic missile submarine of the United States Navy. ... CSS Patrick Henry was built in New York City in 1853 by the renowned William H. Webb for the Old Dominion Steam Ship Line as the civilian steamer Yorktown, a brigantine-rigged side-wheel steamer. ... Categories: Stub | American Civil War | Confederate States Navy ... Combatants Allies: Poland, British Commonwealth, France/Free France, Soviet Union, United States, China, and others Axis Powers: Germany, Italy, Japan, and others Casualties Military dead: 17 million Civilian dead: 33 million Total dead: 50 million Military dead: 8 million Civilian dead: 4 million Total dead: 12 million World War II... The Liberty ships were cargo ships built in the United States during World War II. They were cheap and quick to build, and came to symbolize U.S. wartime industrial output. ... The SS Patrick Henry was the first Liberty ship launched. ... Patrick Henry College, or PHC is an unaccredited private Christian Protestant college that focuses on teaching classical liberal arts and government, located in Purcellville, Virginia. ...

Places named in honor of Patrick Henry include:

Henry County is a county located in the state of Virginia. ... Henry County is a county located in the state of Kentucky. ... Location in the state of Virginia Formed 1791 Seat Stuart Area  - Total  - Water 1,258 km² (486 mi²) 7 km² (3 mi²) 0. ...


  1. ^ Pendleton was President of the Committee of Safety which had power after the colonial governor fled.


  • Beeman, Richard R. Patrick Henry: A Biography. New York: McGraw-Hill, 1974. ISBN 0070042802.
  • Bernard Mayo; Myths and Men: Patrick Henry, George Washington, Thomas Jefferson (1959)
  • Raphael, Ray. Founding Myths: Stories that Hide our Patriotic Past. New York: New Press, 2004. ISBN 1565849213.
  • ———. "Are U.S. History Textbooks Still Full of Lies and Half-Truths?" (online essay)
  • Moses Coit Tyler. Patrick Henry 1898.

See also

This article discusses liberalism as a major worldwide political ideology, its development, and its many modern-day variations. ... This is an (partial) overview of individuals that contributed to the development of liberal theory on a worldwide scale and therefore are strongly associated with the liberal tradition and instrumental in the exposition of political liberalism as a philosophy. ... The Patrick Henry League was founded in 1958 by Robert Heinlein and his wife, Virginia Ginny Gerstenfield, to oppose then President of the United States Dwight Eisenhowers proposal for a unilateral cessation of United States nuclear weapons testing in 1958. ...

External links

Wikiquote has a collection of quotations related to:
Patrick Henry
Wikisource has original works written by or about:
Preceded by:
Edmund Pendleton[1]
Governor of Virginia
Succeeded by:
Thomas Jefferson
Preceded by:
Benjamin Harrison V
Governor of Virginia
Succeeded by:
Edmund Randolph
Governors of Virginia Virginia State Flag
HenryJeffersonFlemingNelsonHarrisonHenryE RandolphB Randolph • H Lee • BrookeWoodMonroePageCabellTyler SrG SmithMonroeG SmithRandolphBarbourNicholasPrestonRandolphPleasantsJ TylerGilesJ FloydTazewellRobertsonCampbellGilmerPattonRutherfordGregoryMcDowellW "EB" SmithJB FloydJohnson • Wise • LetcherW "EB" SmithPierpontWellsWalkerKemperHollidayCameronF LeeMcKinneyFerrallJH TylerMontagueSwansonMann • Stuart • DavisTrinkleByrdPollardPeeryPriceDardenTuckBattleStanleyAlmondA HarrisonGodwinHoltonGodwinDaltonRobbBalilesWilderAllenGilmoreWarnerKaine

  Results from FactBites:
Patrick Henry - LoveToKnow 1911 (1004 words)
PATRICK HENRY (1736-1799), American statesman and orator, was born at Studley, Hanover county, Virginia, on the 29th of May 1736.
He was the son of John Henry, a welleducated Scotsman, among whose relatives was the historian William Robertson, and who served in Virginia as county surveyor, colonel and judge of a county court.
Henry was twice married, first to Sarah Skelton, and second to Dorothea Spotswood Dandridge, a grand-daughter of Governor Alexander Spotswood.
Patrick Henry (556 words)
Patrick Henry was born in Hanover County, Virginia in 1736, to John and Sarah Winston Henry.
Henry's call to arms was carried over the protests of more conservative patriots and was one of the causes of the order for Lord Dunmore, the royal governor, to remove some gunpowder from the Magazine.
Henry served in the Virginia House of Burgesses; he was a member of the Virginia committee of Correspondence, a delegate to the Virginia Convention, and a delegate to the Virginia Constitution Ratification Convention.
  More results at FactBites »



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