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Thursday, May 29, 2008

Portrait of a Man: Patrick Henry


Most people don't think of Patrick Henry as having a great impact on our national government. The average person will remember that he said "Give me liberty or give me death", but nothing else. But his effect on our country is enormous.

On this day in 1736,
Patrick Henry was born to John Henry and Sarah Winston Syme Henry, the second of nine children. Early in his life, his mother exposed him to the teachings of the Presbyterian pastor, Samuel Davies. Davie's sermons would have a profound impact on Henry throughout the rest of his life. Patrick married Sarah Shelton when he was 18 years old. Together, they raised six children. After several attempts and failures at farming, he became a politician and lawyer. Patrick was also an accomplished fiddler. At one time he played Chevy Chase, a popular dance tune, one hundred times over. In 1769, he moved his family to Scotchtown. In 1775 Sarah, his wife, died. This loss was devastating to him. It was just after her death, that he gave his famous "Give me Liberty" speech. In 1777, he married Dorthea Dandridge. Together they had eleven more children.

After the war for independence from Britain, the the Constitutional Convention was called, in order to form a permanent bond between the colonies. Patrick Henry, a firm states-rights advocate, argued that it was better to use the Articles of Confederation, which were less binding to a central power. When asked if he would represent Virginia at the convention, he famously replied, "I smell a rat". In spite of his efforts, the Constitution passed. Resigned to the will of the people, he wrote up forty amendments to the constitution. Only ten of these would pass and come to be known as our Bill of Rights. His legacy as a freedom fighter would be carried on by his grandsons, who fought for the principles
Patrick held dear, during the War for Southern Independence.

Where would we be today without the Bill of Rights?

Photo courtesy of Wikipedia.org

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4 Comments:

Blogger Rochirmil said...

If the world had, today, some of the men from years gone by then many of the problems we have now would probably not be issues. But, God knows best and all things will work out for his glory in the end.

May 29, 2008 at 10:15 AM  
Blogger Stephen Boyd said...

Hannah:
Excellent point!

The best way I have discovered, to learn about and emulate the great men of the past, is by reading lots of good old books!;)

Thanks for the comment.

May 29, 2008 at 12:13 PM  
Blogger Mike said...

Patrick Henry was a really amazing man, he allowed himself to be used by the LORD and I hope that the LORD is raising up another generation like his.

One of favorite quotes is
"If this be treason, make the most of it".

~Mike

May 29, 2008 at 6:39 PM  
Blogger Stephen Boyd said...

Thanks for the comment, Mike.

I really did not do him justice in this short post. He was an excellent orator and very articulate, as well as a strong Christian. If you can get your hands on a lecture by Bill Potter entitled: "Patrick Henry: I Smell a Rat", that is the best one I have heard on him.

That's also one of my favorite quotes by him, and "I smell a rat". An excellent and unique way to describe tyrannical government!

May 29, 2008 at 6:50 PM  

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