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Trevon Ashley

10/10/12
Give Me Liberty Or Give Me Death
Period 6
Do you believe in fighting for something you believe in? In the
persuasive speech Give Me Liberty Or Give Me Death, author Patrick Henry
talks about the persistence of the people fighting to declare independence
from the aristocratic colonists during the Enlightenment time period. Middle
class members of society demanded liberty from the aristocracy to live a life
of independence. Mr. Henry states his determination and the determination
of the lower class citizens spirit to fight for liberty in the pre-revolutionary
war and die for it. As for me, give me liberty or give me death, shows how
people during the Enlightenment time period were passionate about their
beliefs. In Give Me Liberty Or Give Me Death, Patrick Henry shows these
beliefs by using the styles of the Enlightenment time period such as the
rhetorical strategies, appeal to logos, appeal to pathos and other devices
such as allusion and personification. Mr. Henry uses these devices to show
emotions such as passion, fear, and desire in his speech to indicate the
feelings lower class society had against the aristocratic colonists. He is trying
to send a message using these emotions to explain how all men are created
equal and therefore convince the colonist to listen to his demands for liberty.

Patrick Henry uses devices like rhetorical questions, sarcasm, allusion,


personification, appeal to logos, appeal to pathos, and parallel structure to
show emotion in the audience. The rhetorical questions are lines 2-6
throughout the speech. when shall we be stronger?, Will it be the next
week, Shall we acquire the means of effectual resistance, by lying
supinely on our backs, and hugging the delusive phantom of hope? This
shows how the lower classes wanted to take action for their liberty and have
the colonists feel a sense of respect and pride for them. This also shows
sarcasm because it makes the colonists feel inadequate. They are doing
absolutely nothing while a war is uprising. This shows how they are just
hoping for something hopeless. In Line 2 Will it be when we are totally
disarmed, and when a British guard shall be stationed in every house? This
is an allusion that alludes to the revolution and the Quartering Act. The
Quartering Act was the indirect tax for the colonists. Colonists felt powerful
and gained power from this allusion because it gave them the power to tax
someone without representing what the lower class members were paying
for. The colonist used this to take advantage of the people.
The speaker uses appeal to logos in lines 7-8 when he says, Three
millions of people, armed in the holy cause of liberty. This convinces the
colonists that they can fight for their rights and for the war which would give
the colonist hope that they can win the war, because the colonists see how
the people are willing to fight for their liberty and use this as inspiration
toward the uprising war. When the speaker says, There is no retreat but in

submission and slavery!In this line this is a appeal to pathos and shows how
the speaker is serious about his independence and how the colonists should
be feeling compassionate. In line 5, hugging the delusive phantom of hope
shows that the colonist should be feeling hopeless for thinking that just
waiting for the war to be over with is hopeless. This is an example of
personification. Colonists should be the vigilant, the active, and the brave.
This is an example of parallel structure. Colonists feel unprepared and the
speaker feels well prepared for the battle.
The emotions the speaker uses in his speech are passion, desire, and
fear. He uses passion when he says, Sir, we are not weak if we make a
proper use of those means God of nature hath placed in our power. This
shows that the speaker believes in God and wants to go down the path God
has set for him. The colonists should understand how he feels and how he is
deeply passionate about gaining liberty. The speaker uses desire as a goal
that he must obtain which is liberty. If we were base enough to desire it,
this should convince the colonists by them coming to an understanding
about desire and goals they want to achieve. Fear is shown when the speaker
says, The war is inevitable and let it come! I repeat it sir, let it come.
Patrick Henry was prepared to do anything to achieve liberty. This also shows
how scared the colonists were of the war. Fear shouldnt stop you from
fighting for something you believe in.

In Give Me Liberty Or Give Me Death, Patrick Henry states the


persistence of the people of the Enlightenment time period. He indicates a
message to the colonists and how they should give power to the people.
Patrick Henrys message to the audience is to revolt, fight for what you
believe in and treat everyone equally. The message shows us that during the
Enlightenment time period, they believed that the citizens should control the
government only by citizens, for citizens, and not just the aristocracy. All
men are created equal and have natural rights. No one should be stripped of
their rights and freedom, so no citizen should be without liberty.

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