Most Americans know Patrick Henry as a fiery speaker whose pronouncement “Give me liberty or give me death!” rallied American defiance to the British Crown. But Henry's skills as an oratorsharpened in the small towns and courtrooms of colonial Virginiaare only one part of his vast, but largely forgotten, legacy. As historian Thomas S. Kidd shows, Henry cherished a vision of America as a virtuous republic with a clearly circumscribed central government. These ideals brought him into bitter conflict with other Founders and were crystallized in his vociferous opposition to the U.S. Constitution.
In Patrick Henry, Kidd pulls back the curtain on one of our most radical, passionate Founders, showing that until we understand Henry himself, we will neglect many of the Revolution's animating values.
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About the Author
An Associate Professor of History at Baylor University, winner of a 2006–2007 National Endowment for the Humanities Fellowship, and author of numerous books on American religious history, Thomas S. Kidd lives in Waco, Texas.
Table of Contents
Introduction "The nefarious and highly criminal Patrick henry Patrick Henry in American Memory ix
Chapter 1 "If your industry be only half equal to your genius' Patrick Henry Backcountry Virginia 1
Chapter 2 "The infatuation of new light' The Great Awakening and the Parsons' Cause 27
Chapter 3 "If this be treason" The Stamp Act Crisis 51
Chapter 4 "The first man upon this continent" Boycotts and the Growing Crisis with Britain 67
Chapter 5 "Liberty or death" Arming for Revolution 91
Chapter 6 "To cut the knot" Independence 109
Chapter 7 "Our worthy governor" Patrick Henry in Wartime 129
Chapter 8 "Virtue has taken its departure" The War's End and a New Virginia 151
Chapter 9 "I smelt a rat" Defending the Revolution by Opposing the Constitution 183
Chapter 10 "To care for the crazy machine" Reconciling with the Republic 213
Epilogue: "Mourn Virginia Mourn!" The Legacy of Patrick Henry 245