Why does Patrick Henry say that God is on the side of the colonists?

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Patrick Henry invokes God to help strengthen the rhetorical force of his argument in favor of independence. It's a smart move; after all, if God is on your side, then who can argue with that? Although religious belief differed widely among the American colonists, virtually everyone believed in the existence of God. So by trying to convince his audience that the case for independence met with the approval of the Almighty, Henry knew that his auditors were more likely to sit up and take notice.

In invoking God, Henry also wanted to invest his argument with added moral force. On his account, independence wasn't just a political issue; it was also a moral one. The liberty that the colonists desire, and which has been slowly but surely curtailed by the British, is God-given liberty. This means that no mere mortal has the right to take it away. And if anyone should be foolish or impious enough to try, then it is incumbent on God's chosen people—i.e. the American colonists—to stand up and fight to take it back.

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In his famous "Liberty or Death" speech--given before the Virginia Convention on March 23, 1775--Patrick Henry argued that God was on the side of the colonists in their conflict with Great Britain. As with the framers of the Declaration of Independence, Henry stated the British had violated natural, God-given law--specifically, the human right of freedom. Because the British had broken this natural law, it logically followed that God would side with the colonists, not the British.

Consequently, Henry declared that the colonists "will not fight our battles alone," for "There is a just God who presides over the destinies of nations...who will raise up friends to fight our battles for us." Likewise, he said that the "God of nature" had given the colonists the means to defeat the British: "Three millions of people, armed in the cause of holy liberty."

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