transparent portrait of Patrick Henry superimposed on an American flag

Speech to the Virginia Convention

by Patrick Henry

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Why does Patrick Henry believe the colonists are strong?

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Patrick Henry thinks the colonists are strong because they have several advantages over the British. Most importantly, they have three million people willing to fight for their own liberty. This drive will push them to fight harder, longer, and better than their foes. In addition, they know the land better than the British do. Finally, Henry argues, God is on the side of the colonists, and God will help them win by bringing allies to their cause.

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Patrick Henry thinks that the colonists can be strong if they make good use of all of the talents and fortitude that God has given them. In his "Speech to the Virginia Convention," he says that they have three million people who are ready to fight for the "holy cause of liberty," and that the land is of such a nature that it would not be difficult to protect against any enemy force. The fact that people would be fighting for their own freedom, he implies, will make them fight all the harder and with greater perseverance than the British, who would be thousands of miles from their homes. Furthermore, the colonists know the land, and the British armies do not. Henry says that the colonists can be invincible as a result of these two elements alone.

However, Henry goes further than this, claiming that God is on their side, that God presides over the destinies of all nations and will help to raise up friends and allies across the world who will come to the aid of the colonies against the formidable British Empire. Finally, Henry argues that winning does not just require strength to fight; it requires one to be vigilant, active, and brave, and he evidently feels that the colonists possess all of these qualities in abundance. The knowledge that their cause is just and that God is on their side will carry them through the ordeal of war and make them victorious.

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Why does Henry think the colonists can win a war against the British?

In this particular excerpt of his speech, Patrick Henry addresses the concerns of those who doubt that the American colonists will be able to take on the British, who, at that time, had the most formidable fighting force in the world. In response, Henry argues that there's no time to lose—the colonists are as strong now as they'll ever be. It's very much a case of now or never.

Henry goes on to emphasize the phenomenal strength that the American colonists will have in the forthcoming conflict on account of their fanatical attachment to what he describes as "the holy cause of liberty." With three million people armed in such a noble cause, the Americans will be able to withstand any force that the British send against them. And in any case, Henry is convinced that the Americans will not be fighting alone; they will have God on their side. God presides over the destinies of nations, and ultimately, God will decide the outcome of the long and bitter struggle ahead.

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