Who Was Patrick Henry?


Quick Answer

Patrick Henry was a prominent figure in Colonial Virginia and a "patriot" involved in securing American independence. Although Henry served five terms as Governor of Virginia, he is best known for his quote, "Give me liberty or give me death," uttered in an appeal for Virginians to join the rebellion.

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Full Answer

Henry gained notoriety in Virginia for his involvement in a court case in 1763 involving an issue known as "Parson's Cause," in essence an argument about whether the government of Virginia or the monarchy should decide the price of tobacco paid to clergy for their services. Henry delivered an address in the courtroom denouncing those who thought that the monarchy could overrule Virginia's laws as tyrants. It was this attitude toward the monarchy that caused Henry, a first-term member of the Virginia legislature in 1765, to introduce resolutions opposing the Stamp Act.

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