What does Patrick Henry urge the colonists to do in his Speech to the Virginia Convention?
When Patrick Henry addresses the Virginia Convention, he does so with at least a little trepidation, for he is about to speak words and ideas that could be considered treasonous. He begins his Speech to the Virginia Convention by suggesting, respectfully, that what is at stake here is the future of the country. He says:
I consider it as nothing less than a question of freedom or slavery; and in proportion to the magnitude of the subject ought to be the freedom of the debate.
He rather scolds the members for not wanting to hear the complete truth, so the first thing he does is encourage them to hear the whole truth and reasoning so they can make a better judgment about whether or not to take appropriate action. Then he begins to systematically build an argument for the creation of a militia.
First, he wants the members of...
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In his speech to the Virginia Convention, Patrick Henry is urging the colonists to raise a militia that could oppose the British army. His speech comes in rebuttal to those who had spoken to the Virginia House of Burgesses the day before about not waging war against Britain. What Henry essentially claims is that Britain has brought their own troops to the colonies, and that war is inevitable. The colonies have already tried everything they could to make nice, but nothing has been working, so therefore action is needed. In the words of Henry:
"There is no longer any room for hope. If we wish to be free if we mean to preserve inviolate those inestimable privileges for which we have been so long contending if we mean not basely to abandon the noble struggle in which we have been so long engaged, and which we have pledged ourselves never to abandon until the glorious object of our contest shall be obtained, we must fight! I repeat it, sir, we must fight! An appeal to arms and to the God of Hosts is all that is left us!"