Patrick Henry Essay

4849 words - 20 pages

Patrick Henry was born on May 29, 1736, in Hanover County, Virginia. He was the son of John Henry, a highly educated Scotsman who served in the colony as a surveyor, colonel, and justice of the Hanover County Court. While John Henry had the utmost respect for education, Patrick had a hard time in school and stopped attending when he was just 10 years old. The remainder of his education took place at home from his father and in many subjects he was self-taught.When Patrick was 15 years old, he and his brother started a general store. They tried to make it successful, but the boys couldn't resist the outdoors. When the weather was nice they would put a "closed" sign on the door and go hunting. On stormy days when they would be there to tend the store there weren't many customers. In a few months the store failed, but young Patrick wasn't concerned. He had met and fallen in love with Sarah Shelton.When Patrick was 18 years old, he and Sarah were married. As a wedding gift, Sarah bought Patrick a three hundred acre farm. Although Patrick worked very hard, the land was poor and the crops failed. Then one day Patrick and Sarah's house burned down and they lost most of their possessions. They moved in with Sarah's parents who owned and operated an inn across from the Hanover Courthouse. Patrick worked for his father-in-law and eventually decided to start another general store. Unfortunately, it failed like the first one.By now, Sarah and Patrick had several small children. Patrick needed a way to provide for his growing family. Each day while working for his father-in-law across from the courthouse, he would often listen to the lawyers as they discussed cases and decisions. It wasn't long before Patrick decided to become a lawyer. He borrowed several law books and began to study law. After eight months of studying, he went to Williamsburg and took the law exams.In 1760 Patrick passed and was admitted to the Virginia bar. In the first three years of his practice Patrick Henry took on 1,185 cases.In a few years Patrick had become a well-known attorney. In 1765 he became a member of the colonial legislature of Virginia, the House of Burgesses. Realizing the mounting problems with England's rule, he introduced seven resolutions against the Stamp Act. A small majority passed five of the resolutions.He was reelected to the House of Burgesses in 1769. A strong movement was forming which supported independence from England. He was also a member of the first Virginia Committee of Correspondence, which aided inter-colonial cooperation and he was also a delegate to the Continental Congresses of 1774 and 1775. The House of Burgesses was dissolved in 1774 and Henry became a member of the newly formed Revolutionary Convention of Virginia. He realized that war with Great Britain was inevitable and on March 23, 1775, he urged the convention to establish and equip a Virginia militia to defend and fight against the British. The great speech he gave that day will...

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