Speech to the Virginia Convention Questions and Answers
by Patrick Henry

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What are some examples of ethos, logos, and pathos in Patrick Henry's Speech to the Virginia Convention?

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Patrick Henry begins the speech with pathos, saying that he regards the matter before the convention as “nothing less than a question of freedom or slavery.” The emotive language continues as he says that if he were to remain silent at such a time, he would consider himself a traitor to his country and his God. In the third paragraph, rhetorical questions add to the effect of the emotive language. These techniques of pathos continue thick and fast in the ensuing paragraphs and are to be found throughout the speech.

One of the strongest appeals to logos comes in paragraph ten. People say the colonists are too weak to take on the British. “But when shall we be stronger? Will it be the next week, or the next year?” Henry’s language becomes more ironic and closer to an emotional appeal when he asks whether the colonists will “acquire the means of effectual resistance by lying supinely on our backs,” but the initial argument is clearly a logical one. There is then an invocation...

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