Response Paper

Response Paper

["Give Me Liberty or Give Me Death"]

[Robert Russell]
[HIUS 221-C11]

The reason Patrick Henry recited the speech, "Give Me Liberty or Give Me Death," is to persuade the House that there is no other substitute but war. Henry starts off by recognizing the patriotism and abilities of the men who spoke before, and against him. Henry goes on to persuade his audience by use of rhetorical questions and comparisons to religious beliefs. Henry’s speech was very motivations, and inspirational, as well as urgent and persuasive. Patrick Henry did a good job, and at the height of his speech, he convinces the House of Burgesses that the war needs to be fought. 

The first thing Henry did when giving his speech was he complimented his opponents, in order to gain their respect and confidence. Since the audience respects Henry, they will be more willing to listen to what it is he has to say. He then asks for forgiveness in advance for anything he says that might disregard or insult them, or anyone else. Henry rationalizes the basis for his speech, using a false dilemma to make the audience believe that there is only two options, when in fact, there are many more. The two options he gives them are freedom, and slavery. Henry then goes on and makes a reference to God and to America, as a way to connect to his audience. He makes the statement that he should not be held accountable for treason toward his country, for if he didn’t debate this issue, he would be committing an act of disloyalty to the others in similar positions to him. 

When Henry says “we are apt to shut our eyes against the painful truth, and listen to the song of that siren till she transforms us into beasts”, he is making reference to The Odyssey. Basically what he is saying is that people tend to push away problems, and head toward what is easy, and what they are told is right, when in fact, it could be the dishonest thing, and can in the end lead...

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