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"Speech to the VIrginia Convention", Patrick Henry

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Kristine Tan

on 25 October 2013

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Transcript of "Speech to the VIrginia Convention", Patrick Henry

"Speech to the Virginia Convention", Patrick Henry
LC 3:
"Should I keep back my opinions at such a time, through fear of giving offense, I should consider myself as guilty of treason towards my country, and of an act of disloyalty toward the Majesty of Heaven..." (14).
LC 4:
"The question before the House is...a question of freedom or slavery" (14).
LC 1:
"Mr. President: No man thinks more highly than I do of the patriotism...of the very worthy gentlemen who have just addressed the House" (14).
Intro to Analysis
The Great Awakening (1700's):
The movement when people in colonial America became united under one religion (known as religious revival). Empowering, dramatic sermons were given to motivate the colonists to create a relationship with God
Popular preachers such as John Edwards persuaded colonists to follow him, or else they'd undergo pain/suffering
Patrick Henry mimicked this style by presenting the audience with a choice: freedom or slavery
Both preachers used religion as a bridge to connect to their audience
Employing americanisms, such as "patriot", Patrick Henry implies that they are ultimately politically united. He's making them aware that he respects them highly.
"Patriot" was first used in Britain to label the rebellious, however in the U.S, it took on a more positive connotation.
LC 2:
"...what the worthy gentlemen who have just addressed the house. But different men often see the same subject in different lights... I hope it will not be thought disrespectful to those gentlemen if...I shall speak forth my sentiments freely" (14).
By asking permission to voice his opinion while acknowledging opposing sides, Henry establishes a respectful tone to the other experienced/credible men.
Henry emphasizes that it is everyone's equal duty to express their opinion, otherwise they're not fulfilling their loyalty to God.
Creates an Ethos by establishing that he
shares the same values as everyone.
Language Cue #14: Pathos/Ethos
"I know not what course others may take; but as for me, give me liberty or give me death!" (17)
LC: 12
"Sir, we are not weak of we make a proper use of those means which the God of nature hath placed in our power...there is a just God who presides over the destinies of nations, and who will raise up friends to fight our battles for us" (16).
LC 13:
"Our chains are forged! Their clanking may be heard on the plains of Boston! The war is inevitable--and let it come!"
LC: 11
"They tell us, sir, that we are weak... When shall we be stronger?... When a British guard shall be stationed in every house?... Shall we acquire the means of effectual resistance by lying supinely on our backs and hugging the delusive phantom of hope, until our enemies shall have bound us hand and foot?" (16)
LC 8:
"...warlike preparations which cover our waters and
LC 7:
"Is it that insidious smile with which our petition has been lately received?...Suffer not yourselves to be betrayed with a kiss" (15).
LC 9:
"We have petitioned; we have remonstrated; we have supplicated; we have prostrated ourselves before the throne...our petitions have been slighted; our remonstrances have produced additional violence and insult; our supplications have been disregarded; and we have been spurned...from the foot of the throne!" (15-16)
LC 10:
"If we wish to be free--if we mean to preserve inviolate those inestimable privileges for which we have been so long contending--we must fight!...an appeal to arms and to the God of hosts is all that is left us!" (16)
Using this either-or fallacy, Henry urges the people to revolt against the British Crown, since there is but one right choice.
Audience's refusal to become slaves allows him to gain followers, because he presents them with another possibility.
Henry uses imagery to show how Britain's ruling makes Virginia a dark place, and traps the people in 'binding chains'
Henry's use of parallel structure increases the pace of his language and evokes a sense of urgency.
Also appeals to the audience's emotion by revealing their helplessness under British rule, and saying that fighting the British Crown is the only option.

Henry takes away any confidence in the British Crown by stating that their own ruler believes they're weak
- Discouraging his audience leaves them feeling
helpless, ultimately resorting to Henry's proposal.
"GOD IS ON OUR SIDE!"
Due to the Great Awakening, the audience's relationship with God is promised, and reliable - unlike the relationship with Britain. Henry takes advantage of this and boosts their confidence by persuading them about their alliance with
God.
"The next gale that sweeps from the north will bring to our ears the clash of resounding arms!"
PATHOS: Henry proves his determination and commitment to revolting against the British Crown. By using the bandwagon affect, he urges people like him (the brave and the confident) to join him in the battle

Conclusion:
Henry compares Britain to Judas, who attempted to kill Jesus. Britain wears the "insidious smile" that applied to Judas.
Henry makes the audience predict Britain will deceive Virginia as Judas deceived Jesus. He appeals to audience's values by representing the situation as a biblical story, with Britain as Judas - the one who endangered their God.
Despite all efforts, Britain isn't allowing compromise, all other options have been "exhausted"; there's no other choice but to fight
Their endless efforts only resulted in mindless disregard by the British crown
made it too easy for Britain to ignore
Henry says all Virginia's hopes/dreams will not be pursued while under British rule because they are trapped. The people feel paranoid that they would give up their dreams, and their purity
by using "inviolate", meaning kept pure, Henry implies that they would be corrupted (mentally/emotionally, possibly religiously) if they remained under British rule
The imagery and increased narrative pace excites the audience about the glory of independence and breaking free. Since Henry is confident and supporting an all out revolt, the audience gains
confidence in him, instead of believing in Britain.
ETHOS: By showing his confidence, he seems trustworthy
- Connects it to household conditions establishes more pathos
By: Kristine Tan & Kari Nasu
One of the three LC's where Henry establishes himself as someone who respects others, and sees all as equals. (ETHOS)
Two of the three LC's where Henry establishes himself as someone who respects others, and sees all as equals (ETHOS)
Henry's tone seems timid, which allows him to gain acceptance in the convention.
Three of the three LC's where Henry establishes himself as someone who respects others, and sees all as equals (ETHOS)
One of the two LC's where the language enrages the audience, and makes the them feel betrayal, hatred, and resentment towards Britain (PATHOS)
Two of the two LC's where the language enrages the audience, and makes the them feel betrayal, hatred, and resentment towards Britain (PATHOS)
This accusation affects the audience on an emotional level, since Jesus is the worshiped God.
which the British ministry have been so long forging... We have held the subject up in every light of which it is capable
... What terms shall we find which have not been already exhausted" (15)?"
darken our land...bind and rivet upon us those chains
One of the three LC's where the audience feels trapped, ignored, and war is necessary (PATHOS)
Two of the three LC's where the audience feels trapped, ignored, and war is necessary (PATHOS)
Three of the three LC's where the audience feels trapped, ignored, and war is necessary (PATHOS)
One of the four language cue's where Henry's language gains the audience's confidence in himself, rather than the crown
Two of the four language cue's where Henry's language gains the audience's confidence in himself, rather than the crown
Three of the four language cue's where Henry's language gains the audience's confidence in himself, rather than the crown
Four of the four language cue's where Henry's language gains the audience's confidence in himself, rather than the crown
to give Virginia strength/hope to defeat Britain. Also, he says he knows not what course others will take,
therefore he recognizes some may support other options.
Rhetorical Purpose of "Speech to the Virginia Convention"
The language Patrick Henry employs in the "Speech to the Virginia Convention" starts off by
indicating his stand point as a respectful and lawful man
, to
creating the sense of dissatisfaction with Britain
, while
initiating the possibility of war
, and ultimately
securing confident followers to revolt against the British Crown
.
Full transcript