Patrick Henry: Champion of Liberty
“Give me liberty or give me death” is a phrase that has defined colonial Revolutionary Patrick Henry for more than two centuries. There was more to the man. Patrick was born in 1736, one of eleven children. Educated at home by his father, he was raised on a plantation surrounded by slavery. He was an empathetic listener and observer. His career wound many paths, from shopkeeper to farmer to lawyer. There would be ups and downs with each. The after-effects of the French and Indian War would have ramifications for Virginia along with the other colonies as King George III and his representatives levied taxes on their colonies to pay for the war costs. The attempts to tax stamps would be successfully fought but would be met by further taxes against tea, leading to the Intolerable Acts. Henry, along with other notables, would represent his constituents at the First Continental Congress. Henry would evolve into a military leader and later Governor of Virginia. His role as an influential statesman would continue until his death in 1799.
Jon Kukla’s telling of Patrick Henry is chock full of information about the Revolutionary leader. His leadership and lawyering skills were top notch. His views on slavery were more modern than most, even though he didn’t call for outright abolition. Henry’s loyalty to George Washington had an important impact on our country. An excellent biography of a statesman/soldier/lawman.
Simon & Schuster