Summary Of Speech In The Virginia Convention By Patrick Henry

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In the speech “Speech in the Virginia Convention” (1775), Patrick Henry, one of the most powerful orators of the American Revolution, and an important political leader of that era, argues that “If [the American colonists] wish to be free… [they] must fight!” and that it is in vain to try for peace with the British. Henry proves the need for war by predicting the future using examples from the past (“I know no way of judging the future but by the past), by asking emotionally charged rhetorical questions (“Is life so dear, or peace so sweet, as to be purchased at the price of chains and slavery?”), and by countering the claim that there is a need for peace (“Gentleman may cry, ‘Peace, Peace!’-but there is no peace. The war is actually begun!”).

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