Paraphrase: Write in your own words Paraphrase: Patrick Henry is saying that although people call for peace, it’s not going to happen. There isn’t opportunity to compromise. People are already standing up to the British. He’s asking them what they’d want to do: live as a slave or die free? He says that he would choose DEATH!
Observe: What parts may matter? It is in vain, sir, to extenuate the matter. Gentlemen may cry, Peace, Peace, but there is no peace. The war is actually begun! The next gale that sweeps from the north will bring to our ears the clash of resounding arms! Our brethren are already in the field! Why stand we here idle? What is it that gentlemen wish? What would they have? Is life so dear, or peace so sweet, as to be purchased at the price of chains and slavery? Forbid it, Almighty God! I know not what course others may take; but as for me, give me liberty or give me death!
Observe: What parts may matter? Observe: 1.The metaphor of purchasing chains may be significant 2.His allusion to God may be significant 3.His ultimatum concerning “liberty or death” may be significant.
Contextualize: Look at the background Contextualize: 1.The fact that there was a conflict between people in the colonies over whether or not to go to war with Britain is potentially significant. 2.The Englightenment ideas of “consent of the governed” and social contract may be significant. 3.The Enlightenment idea of “fighting against tyranny” and “reason over tradition” may be significant.
Analyze: Put the pieces together Analyze: 1.Patrick Henry’s allusion to God presents a call to action to those who are religious. It forces their hand. 2.His metaphor about the chains of slavery creates imagery of being in chains. It creates something to rebel against. 3.His famous ultimatum raises the stakes about whether the colonies should join in the fight.
Argue: Make a point. Back it up Argue: Patrick Henry’s speech presented a call to action to the colonists in Virginia to stand up and fight the British. By using biblical allusion and imagery of slavery, he made things seem more desperate to the colonists. With his last line “Give me Liberty, or give me death,” Patrick Henry emphasizes the importance of standing up to a corrupt government, an idea that was shared by many Enlightenment thinkers of the time.