Patrick Henry

Topics: United States, United States Constitution, U.S. state Pages: 5 (1928 words) Published: November 11, 2010
Mark D. Todderton

ENGL 106

Definition Paper

Patrick Henry: The Urgency for True Liberty

Liberty is acquired through will and perseverance, however, it can also be taken away, and forces people to fight to keep it as well. That was what Patrick Henry states in his speech, “Give Me Liberty or Give Me Death”, to the Virginia Convention. He argues that the leaders of America are not taking control and responsibility for what is really going on, and demands that something must be done to finally conquer the beloved goal of independence from Britain. This speech raises many ideas of what liberty really is, and how some people view the term liberty different from one another. Arguments can be made on the question of what is liberty, and if true liberty can even be reached in society. Nonetheless, Henry makes valid arguments, which I support, however, there are some other counter-arguments that I will debunk.

Patrick Henry's main argument, which I agree with, is to exclaim that the Convention is puttering around the idea of reconciliation with Britain, while it is clear that there mostly would not be any progress in its regards. The stalling and unpreparedness of the American government was evident, and why sit around and wait for nothing but hope that Britain will let loose its chains of control over America? Henry realizes that Britain is the enemy and is, in a sense toying, with America, giving hope for a resolution that will not happen. Henry urges the leaders of America to stop being content on hope, yet raise an army to fight for liberty and independence from the monarchy, because it has yet to happen. This situation was similar to three events I will now discuss. The first event involves the African Americans' hopes for abolition from slavery, and in turn, gain equal liberties that white Americans possessed. Yes, slavery had been abolished, but did the African Americans have equal liberties as the whites did? They did not. They could not vote, nor have good paying jobs, and were socially segregated from the whites. It was not until the Civil Rights Movement in the 1960's when they received full access to all deserving liberties of the American Constitution. Martin Luther King Jr., along with hundreds of thousands of African Americans protested for equal rights and liberties that white Americans possessed. They fought for their rights and freedoms and acquired them. They did not sit back and wait for change to happen, which would have been just dandy with the majority of the United States Congress, and much of America in general. Much of America was content with how blacks were treated unjustly, and would have been that way for years to come. This proves that fighting for your liberty is the only way to obtain it.

Another event I would like to discuss is the action taken by the French commoners during the French Revolution. They were disgusted with the absolutism philosophy of Louis XVI controlling every aspect of the French nation. They could not sit back, while starving from lack of food, and weak from lack of power, much longer. They banded together, came as one and took control of their liberties by overthrowing the French Monarchy and took control of their country. This again proves that fighting for liberty is the only way to acquire it.

The final event is the Women's Rights Movement. The American government was content on keeping women powerless, without political involvement, no career opportunities, and no authority. They had no say in their own democracy, yet expected to be a loyal citizen to a nation that did not think much about them in the first place. They fought for their rights and liberties, and eventually got them. Liberty has many definitions. It can mean, autonomous, the freedom from servitude and confinement of oppression, or immunity from arbitrary exercise of authority. Each definition of liberty covers any of the events I have mentioned. My point,...
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