Patrick Henry

Patrick Henry was a Virginian orator who was part of the Virginian House of Burgesses. He expressed his radical ideals and was not concerned with the consequences. After the Stamp Act of 1765 he used the famous catchcry ‘if this be treason make the most of it’ suggesting that the American colonies should act against the Stamp Act. In addition, Henry wrote the Virginia Resolves which claimed that the British had no right to tax Virginia, as the Virginian assembly only had this right. This was reflected the notion of actual representation. Due to this Henry joined in the catchcry of ‘no taxation without representation’ side by side with James Otis and Richard Bland. In addition Henry was a delegate to the Stamp Act Congress of 1765. After the Coercive Acts of 1774, Henry stated that he was ‘not a Virginian, but an American’ highlighting that he was an American nationalist. Henry made his famous speech in 1775 ‘give me liberty or give me death!’ speech which supported the colonial war effort against the British. Henry acted as a delegate to both Continental Congresses and was a colonel in the local Virginian militia in 1775. In 1786 to the Constitutional Congress saying that “I smell a rat” and led the Anti-Federalist movement, as he believed that the Constitution would lead once again to a state of monarchy, an attack on states’ rights and a threat to individual liberty.