February 18, 2012

Patrick Henry: Complicated But Exemplary

Ryan Cole, City Journal

Peruse the language of the Tea Party or Occupy Wall Street movements, and you will, at some point, encounter “give me liberty or give me death.” Apart from the various preambles and amendments to our founding documents, these are arguably the best- known and most invoked words from the American Revolution. The phrase has far outlived the reputation of its author: two centuries after his death, Patrick Henry remains associated with a fragment of a speech he delivered at Richmond’s St. John’s church in the spring of 1775, and little else. But Henry, the subject of a fine new biography by historian Thomas S. Kidd, should be remembered for much more.

 

Virginia’s first governor, and one of the earliest and most articulate advocates for...

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TAGGED: Revolutionary War

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