He failed at storekeeping and he failed at farming, but his ability to speak his mind without bending to popular opinion earned him a seat in that distinguished circle of Americans called “Founding Fathers.”
As a colonial legislator, Patrick Henry vehemently opposed the British Stamp Act, refusing to bow to shouts of “Treason!” from his colleagues. As governor of Virginia, he opposed a Constitution that would yield too much power to the central government, coming to agreement only after the passage of the Bill of Rights, designed to protect individual rights and freedoms.
It was Patrick Henry who cried, “Give me liberty or give me death!” And it was Patrick Henry who rolled up his sleeves, picked up his rifle, and joined his comrades to serve in the Virginia militia.
In his final public speech, he delivered an impassioned plea for unity reminding the crowd of the Liberty Song: “United we stand. Divided we fall.” And after his passing, on June 6, 1799, a note was found by his last will and testament. In it, Patrick Henry addressed those who would come after him—folks like you and me.
Whether America’s independence will prove a Blessing or a Curse, will depend on the Use our people make of the Blessings which a gracious God hath bestowed on us. If they are wise, they will be great and happy. If they are of a contrary Character, they will be miserable … Reader! whoever thou art, remember this, and in thy Sphere, practice Virtue thyself, and encourage it in others. (signed) P. HENRY
[Editor's note: Congratulations to those who will be attending the Road to Executive Director events in Idaho Falls, July 2-4. Don't miss the Melaleuca Freedom Celebration, an annual event honoring the spirit and memory of the more than one million American servicemen and women who made the supreme sacrifice so that our nation might be free.]