Patrick Henry: Give Me Liberty or Give Me Death

Topics: War, United Kingdom, British Empire Pages: 2 (744 words) Published: January 6, 2013
Jeffrey You
Mrs. S. Lopez
English III AP- 7
11 October 2012
Liberty or Death
Men have always cherished the means to govern themselves. Since the beginning of history, we have continually fought and persevered over oppressive tyrants to achieve our freedom. Through his use of parallel structure, pathos, and imagery, Patrick Henry attempted to convince the Virginia Convention to fight England for their rights.

In his speech, Patrick Henry created an image of enslavement and danger to tap into the uncertainties of the colonists. At the time of his address, Americans held disdain for the new British policies of taxes and government. Deriving what they believed a right for home rule, the Americans asked the crown for further freedom. He reminded the colonists that “we have petitioned, we have remonstrated, we have supplicated, we have prostrated ourselves before the throne, and implored its interposition to arrest the tyrannical hands of ministry and parliament.” Each sentence of the passage used by Henry started with “we have” and stated the various actions the colonists had taken to secure their rights from England. The parallel structure in those lines emphasized how the measures taken by Americans became more and more desperate as they transitioned from petitioning to prostrating. Henry’s argument reached its climax when he measured the final action equating to pleading on the floor to King George himself. In addition, he implemented images of the British slavery of the colonists to persuade them to battle England. He had the colonists “ask themselves how [the] gracious reception of [their] petition comported with [the] warlike preparations which covered [their] waters and darkened [their] land.” Henry used this argument to paint a contrasting picture of a peaceful and humble petition rejected by the punishment of armies to contain America. This punishment was represented in warfare that would “cover” and “darken” the colonies. Using this metaphor, the...
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