Henry, Patrick2018-01-13T19:22:19+00:00

Patrick Henry

May 29, 1736–June 6, 1799

Quick Facts About Patrick Henry

Born May 29, 1736, Studley in Hanover County, Virginia

After failed attempts at several professions Henry gained admission to the Virginia bar despite the fact that he had no formal legal training

Achieved notoriety in Virginia for his arguments in court in the Parsons’ Cause, challenging British authority to overrule legislation passed by the Virginia legislature

Elected to the Virginia House of Burgesses in 1765

Virginia House of Burgesses voted to endorse Henry’s Stamp Act Resolves, which attacked Parliament’s claim of authority to tax the colonies, in May 1765

Joined other Virginians in the establishment of inter-colonial committees of correspondence in 1773

Elected as one of Virginia’s seven delegates to the First Continental Congress in 1774

In a speech before the Second Continental Congress, Henry declared “I am not a Virginian, but an American.”

Elected as a Virginia delegate to the Second Continental Congress in 1775

Organized a volunteer militia company in Hanover County, Virginia in 1775

Played an active role in the second Virginia Convention in 1775, advocating independence from Great Britain

Made an impassioned plea for independence before the second Virginia Convention in 1775, ending with his legendary line, “Give me liberty or give me death.”

Appointed commander of newly-formed Virginia Militia in 1775

Passed over as a commander when the Virginia Militia became part of the Continental Army in 1776

Helped draft Virginia’s Declaration of Rights ( a precursor to America’s Bill of Rights) in 1776

Elected as the first governor of the Commonwealth of Virginia in 1776, serving three terms until 1779

Sent Virginia troops under George Rogers Clark to hold the Old Northwest against the British and their Indian allies in 1778

Elected to the Virginia House of Delegates in 1780

Selected to represent Virginia in the Constitutional Convention, but declined for private reasons

Elected as a delegate to the Virginia ratification convention, where he argued eloquently against the proposed U.S. Constitution on the grounds that it centralized too much power in the federal government

Served two more terms as Virginia’s governor from 1784 to 1786

Died June 6, 1799, at Red Hill, his Virginia Plantation

Buried at Red Hill

Citation Information

The following information is provided for citations.

  • Article Title Patrick Henry
  • Coverage May 29, 1736–June 6, 1799
  • Author
  • Keywords patrick henry
  • Website Name American History Central
  • URL
  • Access Date January 18, 2019
  • Publisher R.Squared Communications, LLC
  • Original Published Date
  • Date of Last Update January 13, 2018