Patrick Henry

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Explain Patrick Henry's position regarding the British. Explain how he supports his arguments (ethos, pathos, and logos) with evidence from the text.

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In his 1775 speech to the Virginia House of Burgesses, Patrick Henry states that the American colonies must separate from Britain by declaring war because Britain's rule over the colonies has become tyrannical.

Henry establishes the ethos of his argument by identifying himself as a man who respects those who have opposing opinions. He feels that the time to separate is now, and he understands that others will have reservations about declaring independence from a military superpower, particularly before the colonies have organized an army or navy.

Henry's appeals to logos are evident when he points out that continued negotiation with Britain is likely to be fruitless. He reminds his audience that the colonies have been attempting to negotiate with the king and Parliament for a decade and that no progress has been made thus far. An ample precedent has been set. He also points out that the British navy and army have the colonies surrounded and that they are there to continue their subjugation.

Henry appeals to many emotions in his audience, including the manhood or masculinity of the men listening. He paints an image of them on their backs and in chains. Though it is a metaphor, his insult is clear. He also appeals to their faith in God, claiming that God will find allies for the colonies to help them fight the British.

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