Life & Biography of Patrick Henry - The Rise of Patrick Henry
The passing of the resolutions was a great triumph for Patrick Henry and he gained the approval and support of the colonists of Virginia. Patrick Henry had suddenly become a leader in the affairs of the colony. News of his speech and his words spread to the other colonies. His name became synonymous with the cause of justice and freedom. A few days after the Patrick Henry speech, and the passing of the seven resolutions, Massachusetts called a congress to consider what steps the colonists should take against the Stamp Act. The Stamp Act Congress, or First Congress of the American Colonies, was a meeting held between October 7 and 25, 1765 in New York City. The Stamp Act Congress drew up a "Declaration of the Rights and Grievances of the Colonists." This set of resolutions were much more moderate than those passed in Virginia but they still maintained that only the colonies could tax themselves.
Life & Biography of Patrick Henry - The Road to Revolution
The Stamp Act is repealed in 1766 but other British Laws are imposed on the colonies, fuelling the flame of revolution. Patrick Henry witnesses the passing of the Townshend Acts, a series of Laws placing duties on items imported by the colonists and a boycott of British goods. In 1770 the Boston Massacre occurs when 5 civilians are killed by British soldiers. Patrick Henry meanwhile continues his work as a lawyer and in 1771 Patrick Henry, always an advocate of religious tolerance, defends persecuted Baptist ministers Jeremiah Walker, John Waller, and John Williams.
Life & Biography of Patrick Henry - The Committees of Correspondence
The political life of Patrick Henry moves on in 1773 when he helps create the Virginia Committee of Correspondence. The Committees of Correspondence were shadow governments organized by the Patriot leaders of the 13 Colonies. The objectives of the Committees of Correspondence were to provide colonial leadership and aid inter-colonial cooperation. Thomas Jefferson and Patrick Henry are among the 11 members of the the Virginia Committee of Correspondence. The committees eventually call for the First Continental Congress.
Life & Biography of Patrick Henry - 'Intolerable' Taxes and Tensions mount
Tensions in the colonies continue to grow leading to the Boston Massacre in 1770. On May 10, 1773 the Tea Act was passed. The Tea Act was a law allowing the British East India Company to sell its low-cost tea directly to the colonies, undermining colonial tea merchants. The law provoked the Boston Tea Party on December 16 1773 in which Massachusetts patriots, dressed as Mohawk Indians, protested against the British Tea Act. During 1774 the 'Intolerable Acts' or 'Coercive Acts' were passed by the British government as a reprisal to the Boston Tea party rebellion. The 'Intolerable Acts' were a package of five laws aimed at restoring British authority in its colonies. The 'Intolerable Acts' consisted of the Quartering Act of 1774, the Administration of Justice Act, the Boston Port Act, the Massachusetts Government Act and the Quebec Act. Less than a year following the Quartering Act of 1774 the American Revolution erupted.
Life & Biography of Patrick Henry - Elected to First Continental Congress
In 1774 Patrick Henry was elected to the First Continental Congress. The First Continental Congress was a meeting of representatives from the colonies in 1774 to plan a response to the Coercive / Intolerable Acts. The First Continental Congress was held from September 5 - October 26 1774. The delegates consisted of 56 men from 12 colonies. Georgia elected not to send representatives as it was hoping for British assistance with Indian problems on its frontier. Patrick Henry was by this time a prominent Virginian lawyer, famous as the creator of the 'Virginian Stamp Act Resolves'. Other delegates to the First Continental Congress included Samuel Adams, Stephen Hopkins, Joseph Galloway and George Washington. The members of the First Continental Congress agreed to a boycott of British goods beginning on December 1, 1774. It was to become effective at the end of the year unless the Intolerable Acts were repealed. They then set a date for a Second Continental Congress to meet on May 10, 1775.
Life & Biography of Patrick Henry - Give me Liberty Speech
In 1775 Patrick Henry and the colonists of Virginia are again greatly angered. British soldiers had been sent to Boston to subdue the unruly people of Massachusetts. Virginia has stood by the Massachusetts colony, and as a reprisal the royal governor of Virginia prevented the House of Burgesses from meeting at Williamsburg. Patrick Henry and some other notable Virginians meet in Richmond at old St. John’s Church. The Virginians had already begun to make ready to fight but many still hoped that disagreements might be settled peaceably. Patrick Henry believed that the time has come when talking should give place to action and that war cannot be avoided. Patrick Henry makes his passionate speech on March 23, 1775. The most famous words of the speech include the following:
"...Is life so dear, or peace so sweet, as to be purchased at the price of chains and slavery? Forbid it, Almighty God! I know not what course others may take; but as for me, give me liberty, or give me death!”
In this meeting Patrick Henry submits a resolution that Virginia should at once prepare to defend herself. On March 25, 1775 Patrick Henry was elected to Second Continental Congress. Patrick Henry's belief that war was inevitable is quite prophetic. In less than four weeks the first gun of the Revolution was fired in the quiet town of Lexington, Massachusetts. Refer to the Battle of Lexington and the Battle of Concord.
Life & Biography of Patrick Henry - Death of Sarah Shelton
In 1775 Patrick Henry was suffering great anxiety regarding the mental health of his wife. She need full time care but in April 1775 his wife, Sarah Shelton Henry, died at Scotchtown leaving their six children in his care.
Life & Biography of Patrick Henry - Edict against Patrick Henry
To add to his tragic personal problems there were serious political problems. Virginia's royal governor, John Murray, earl of Dunmore had dispatched a company of marines to seize Virginia's munitions from the public magazine in Williamsburg. Patrick Henry led his militia to demand compensation for the stolen powder. On May 6, 1775 Governor Dunmore issued an edict against Patrick Henry.
Patrick Henry Edict
Life & Biography of Patrick Henry - Second Continental Congress
The Second Continental Congress convened on May 10, 1775 with Patrick Henry in attendance. Patrick Henry prepared the colonies' final petition to the king but it was deemed too radical. A more conservative petition was drafted by Pennsylvania's John Dickinson - the Declaration on the Causes and Necessity of Taking Up Arms. On June 15 1775 George Washington was appointed general and commander-in-chief of the new Continental Army.
Life & Biography of Patrick Henry - Taking up Arms
On July 6 1775 the 'Declaration on the Causes and Necessity of Taking Up Arms' was a document issued by the Second Continental Congress. The document stated that Americans are "resolved to die free men rather than live as slaves." It explained why the 13 Colonies had taken up arms in what had become the American Revolutionary War.
Patrick Henry - The Virginia Constitution & the Declaration of Independence
Patrick Henry was elected commander-in-chief of Virginia's military forces on August 5 1775. Patrick Henry resigned his military command on February 28, 1776. He attends the Fifth Revolutionary Convention and on June 29, 1776 Patrick Henry was elected the first governor of the Commonwealth of Virginia and helps to write the Virginia Constitution. Patrick Henry went on to help in the composition of the Virginia Declaration of Rights which influenced a number of later documents, including the United States Declaration of Independence. Thomas Jefferson presented the United States Declaration of Independence July 4 1776.
Life & Biography of Patrick Henry - Marriage to Dorothea Dandridge
1777 was an eventful year for America and for Patrick Henry. On May 29, 1777 Patrick Henry was re-elected to second term as governor of Virginia. And on October 9 1777 Patrick Henry married his second wife Dorothea Dandridge. Dorothea Dandridge was born on 25 September 1757, to Nathaniel West Dandridge and his wife, Dorothea Spotswood in Hanover County, Virginia. Dorothea Dandridge was the cousin of Martha Dandridge Washington, the wife of George Washington. They had eleven children together.
Life & Biography of Patrick Henry - End of the Revolutionary War
On January 14 1784 The Peace Treaty of Paris 1783 is ratified by Congress and the American Revolutionary War officially ends. Patrick Henry is re-elected and serves five terms as the governor of Virginia. Patrick Henry declines further re-election as governor and resumes his law practice. Patrick Henry declines appointments as U. S. Senator, Chief Justice, Secretary of State, and ambassador to Spain and France due to his failing health.
Life & Biography of Patrick Henry - Retirement
Patrick Henry retired at the age of fifty-eight (1794), to an estate in Charlotte County called “Red Hill,” where he lived a simple life with his family. On March 4, 1799 Patrick Henry made his final speech at Charlotte Courthouse.
The Death of Patrick Henry
Patrick Henry died of stomach cancer at Red Hill on June 6, 1799. His body was buried in the cemetery at Red Hill. The inscription on Patrick Henry’s tomb reads, “His fame his best epitaph.” With his will, Patrick Henry left a copy of his Stamp Act resolutions and a note advising future generations:
"Reader, whoever thou art, remember this; and in thy sphere practice virtue thyself, and encourage it in others."
The Declaration of Independence