Persuasion In Patrick Henry's Speech To The Virginia Convention

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Despite some individual’s skeptical opinions about the influence that Patrick Henry's use of persuasion in "Speech to the Virginia Convention" had on the colonists, Henry's use of these techniques helped sway the colonists into pursuing their independence. Patrick Henry uses persuasion in his "Speech to the Virginia Convention" by appealing to reason and showing what was really happening. He uses the either-or method to influence the settlers into seeing that the only way of success was to fight. For example, he argued that the revolution was "nothing less than a question of freedom or slavery" (Henry 81). This shows Henry only giving the people two options, both are extreme, but do express the seriousness of the predicament that the colonists…show more content…
Henry uses figurative language to help reinforce the purpose of the speech. For example, he uses metaphors like "I have but one lamp by which my feet are guided; and that is the lamp of experience" (Henry 81). This shows Patrick comparing a lamp to the goals that he wants for the colonists. He believes that through experience that there is no way to achieve independence except taking up arms. In addition to figurative language Henry uses loaded words to get the audience's attention. For instance, at the end of his speech his closing words were "but as for me, give me liberty or give me death" (Henry 83). This shows that Patrick Henry will not stand for the oppressing British any longer, and he is willing to die for what he believes in. If he cannot live by his own rules and make his own decisions as a free man, then he does not want to live at all. This really grabbed the audience's attention and sparked a feeling patriotism among many. It made them want to fight for their liberty and rights as an American or die trying; either option was better than living under the tyrannical British rule. Henry’s use of persuasive techniques that appeal to the emotions of the colonist had a major impact on the decision to
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