Rhetorical Strategies in Speech in the Virginia Convention
Updated: 4/13/2017
Rhetorical Strategies in Speech in the Virginia Convention
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Speech in the Virginia Convention Lesson Plans

Speech in the Virginia Convention by Patrick Henry

Lesson Plans by Kristy Littlehale

In a time where loyalties were divided, and the colonists were unsure if war with England was the answer, those who believed in the idea of freedom from tyranny had to speak out and plead their case. This was done in popular pamphlets such as Common Sense, by Thomas Paine, and by delivering public speeches, such as Patrick Henry did to the Virginia Provincial Convention in 1775. While many were arguing for a compromise with the British King, Patrick Henry and Thomas Paine were arguing for a complete break - not only with the king, but with history.

Speech in the Virginia Convention

Storyboard Description

Ethos Pathos Logos Patrick Henry Speech in the Virginia Convention Rhetorical Strategies

Storyboard Text

  • EXAMPLE #1
  • EXAMPLE #2
  • Tax the paper documents next.
  • “Should I keep back my opinions at such a time, through fear of giving offense, I should consider myself as guilty of treason toward my country, and of an act of disloyalty toward the Majesty of Heaven, which I revere above all earthly kings.”
  • “I have but one lamp by which my feet are guided, and that is the lamp of experience. I know of no way of judging of the future but by the past. I wish to know what there has been in the conduct of the British ministry for the last ten years to justify those hopes with which gentlemen have been pleased to solace themselves and the house?”
  • We've already tried everything! All in vain!
  • “I ask gentlemen, sir, what means this martial array, if its purpose be not to force us to submission? Can gentlemen assign any other possible motive for it? Has Great Britain any enemy in this quarter of the world, to call for all this accumulation of natives and armies? No, sir, she has none. They are meant for us: they can be meant for no other.”
  • “And what have we to oppose them? Shall we try argument? Sor. we have been trying that for the last ten years. Have anything new to offer upon the subject? Nothing. We have held the subject up in every light of which it is capable; but it has been all in vain.”
  • When will dinner be ready?!
  • When you get out of my house...
  • HELP!!!
  • “They tell us, sir, that we are weak--unable to cope with so formidable an adversary. But when shall we be stronger? Will it be the next week, or the next year? Will it be when we are totally disarmed, and when a British guard shall be stationed in every house?”
  • “Besides, sir, we shall not fight our battles alone. There is a just God who presides over the destinies of nations and who will raise up friends to fight our battles for us. The battle, sir, is not to the strong alone; it is to the vigilant, the active, the brave.”
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