What was Patrick Henry's political philosophy?

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Ashley Kannan | Middle School Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

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I would say that one component of Henry's political philosophy was a strong favoring of the Patriots.  His legislative work in the Virginia House of Burgesses reflected this.  Henry introduced seven resolutions against the Stamp Act, a method of taxation that the British imposed on the Colonists.  At the same time, Henry moved to an even stauncher radical position after the Stamp Act was repealed.  His political philosophy was seen in how he opposed British rule in the Colonies.  Of his famous quotes, the most famous of "I know not what course others may take, but as for me, give me liberty or give me death," reflected a deep- seeded desire to break away from the British.

The political philosophy that resented external control which took away from individual rights could also be seen in Henry's rejection of the original Constitution at the Constitutional Convention.  As an Antifederalist, Henry's political philosophy demanded that states and individuals have a realm that is free from federal governmental interference.  Henry only voted for ratification of the Constitution once the Bill of Rights was added to it.

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