Rhetorical Analysis Of Henry's 'Give Me Liberty Or Give Me Death'

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In 1775 the American Colonies stood at a tipping point. Britain and the Colonies had been embroiled in a continuing struggle over numerous injustices, and the Colonies seemed at long last situated to engage in a revolution against Britain. However, the colonial representatives were still tied up in negotiations with Britain, and many delegates of the Virginia Convention wanted to delay actions until the negotiations had concluded. Patrick Henry disagreed with the delay, so he addressed the Convention, arguing for the need to mobilize troops against the British, a request tantamount to treason. Instead of shying away from the polarizing nature of his argument, Henry adopted a respectful, but urgent, tone, crafting an argument that would inspire his audience into action. Henry’s “Give Me Liberty or Give Me Death” speech effectively utilized logic, credibility, and emotion in order to persuade his audience into voting in favor of his suggestions. Henry starts his speech by addressing his…show more content…
Drawing upon his established ethos, Henry alludes to the Bible, implying that if the Convention ignored him they would face destruction. Henry develops this idea of destruction throughout his speech, creating an emotional sense of fear and urgency around his argument with words such as “snare,” “war and subjugation,” “chains,” and “tyrannical.” Despite this heavy pathos throughout his speech, Henry also incudes logic, speaking of how he must judge the future by the past, and for that reason can only find proof that Britain will continue to mistreat the Colonies. He additionally utilizes logos through recounting all the acts they have tried so far, which had all been in vain, as well as through a series of “if… then” statements, such as “if we wish to be free…[then] we must
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