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Patrick Henry was a brilliant orator and a major figure of the American Revolution, perhaps best known for his words "Give me liberty or give me death!"
Patrick Henry - Full Episode (43:50)
Patrick Henry and Thomas Jefferson, two former friends, engaged in a long feud as a result of Jefferson's belief that Henry was critical of his performance as Governor during the Civil War.
Patrick Henry issued a challenge to his colleagues and threatened the crown of England with his Stamp Act protest speech.
Though no notes have ever been found written by Patrick Henry himself, a Baptist minister reported the content of his famous "Give Me Liberty or Give Me Death" speech.
A full biography about Patrick Henry.
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(His first wife had died in 1775, after a battle with mental illness.)
Henry spent his last years at his estate, called "Red Hill," in Charlotte County, Virginia. In 1799, Henry was finally persuaded to run for office. He had switched political parties by this time, becoming a part of the Federalists. At the urging of his friend, George Washington, Henry fought for a seat in the Virginia legislature. He won the post,
but he didn't live long enough to serve. He died on June 6, 1799, at his Red Hill home.
While he never held national office, Patrick Henry is remembered as one of the great revolutionary leaders. He has been called the "Trumpet" and "Voice" of the American Revolution. His powerful speeches served as a call for rebellion, and his political proposals offered suggestions for a new nation.
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They are American icons—they're on our dollars and coins, they are the subject of our monuments, and we live our daily lives in the world their ideas helped create. America's "Founding Fathers" include George Washington, John Adams, Thomas Jefferson, James Madison, Alexander Hamilton and of course, Benjamin Franklin. These men, together with several other key players of their time, structured the American democracy and left a legacy that has shaped the world. But beyond their legends, these men were human beings who led complex and fascinating lives. Learning their stories helps us better understand what made them tick, as well as their influence on our world today.
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