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Patrick Henry’s “Speech at the Virginia Convention”

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1 Patrick Henry’s “Speech at the Virginia Convention”
Persuasive Techniques

2 Persuasive Writing Persuasive writing: writing in which the writer tries to convince audience to adopt an opinion, take some action, or both.

3 Patrick Henry 1736-1799 A successful lawyer.
He had a reputation for winning cases because of his persuasive way of speaking. Urged an armed resistance against England. Led the movement to add the Bill of Rights to the US constitution

4 Four Elements of Persuasion
Speaker: tries to show that they are qualified to offer an opinion. Usually suggest that they have special knowledge of topic or are LIKE the audience. Audience: speech is designed to appeal to specific audience. Occasion: the reason for the speech. Means of Persuasion: techniques used.

5 Literary Devices that are Persuasive
Repetition: repeating a statement or thought so it makes a stronger impact. Allusion: reference to a recognizable literary work in your speech. Parallelism: similarly structured phrases that follow one another in a speech. Rhetorical Question: a question that the audience is not supposed to answer. The answer is obvious.

6 Pages 90-92 in Adventures in American Literature textbook.

7 “Speech at the Virginia Convention”
Henry begins by addressing President of convention. Which means of persuasion does that fit into? Appeal to authorities

8 Says to President that he does not want to offend anyone but he must speak his mind. What means of persuasion is this? Appealing to audience’s emotions. He wants to get them on his side. He says that if he doesn’t speak his mind he would feel guilty of treason. (Betraying one’s country.)

9 England is luring us back to them and will make us “slaves” if we do not fight.
“Slaves” is a metaphor. He does not mean it literally. Henry continues by appealing to past traditions. He says that from experience with Britain he knows we should not hope for change. Henry then asks the convention if there is any other reason for Britain to arrange armed forces aside from planning a war. What lit term is this? Rhetorical Question.

10 Uses another metaphor: He says we cannot “avert the storm” Storm is war- can’t avoid it.
Henry uses parallelism when he says, “If we mean to be free…If we mean to preserve…”

11 Repetition and Thesis is made clear when Henry says, “We must fight
Repetition and Thesis is made clear when Henry says, “We must fight!” Several times.

12 Bottom line: We have no choice but to go to war.
Uses another metaphor: We are bound for slavery. Says our chains are forged- they can be heard clanging in Boston. War is inevitable- let it come! “Give me liberty or give me death!”

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