Biography and History

Patrick Henry, born in Hanover County, Virginia, was a symbol of America's struggle for liberty and self-government. Henry was a lawyer, patriot, orator, and participant in almost every aspect of the founding of America. He studied law on his own, and in 1760, he appeared in Williamsburg to take his attorney's examination before Robert Carter Nicholas and others. Henry served in the Virginia House of Burgesses, was a member of the Virginia committee of Correspondence, a delegate to the Virginia Convention, and a delegate to the Virginia Constitution Ratification Convention. He played a prominent role in the May 6, 1776, convention and became the first governor of the commonwealth under its new constitution. He served three terms as governor of Virginia. Henry is perhaps best known for the speech he made in the House of Burgesses on March 23, 1775, urging the legislature to take military action against the encroaching British military force, which ended with the phrase "Give me liberty or give me death!"

Source: From the finding aid for C1165