Patrick Henry`s “Speech to the Virginia Convention”

Patrick Henry’s “Speech to the Virginia Convention”
Qs 2 – 5, p. 206
2. a. Henry says he thinks highly of their patriotism and abilities.
b. Henry wants to give the impression that he has considered their
arguments. This is known as ‘conceding the point” or
acknowledging your opposition.
3. a. Henry says they have “petitioned,” “remonstrated,”
“supplicated,” “prostrated,” and “implored” the throne.
b. The crown has shown it will not compromise and is intent on
using force to gain submission.
4. a. He wants the colonists to prepare for war.
b. He says that delay will allow the British to grow stronger.
5. a. Henry was committed to independence. Given the time in
which he made his speech, he was bringing a death sentence on
himself if the colonists lost the war.
b. Henry was a man of courage who cared deeply about his
c. WWYD?
Benjamin Franklin’s “Speech in the Convention”
Qs 2 – 5, p. 209
2. a. He confesses that he does not entirely approve of the
b. He disarms his opponents by showing he is flexible, not rigid in
his opinions.
3. a. Unanimity will show citizens and the world that conflicting
political interests do not prevent the nation’s officials from
working together.
b. Franklin does not want factions to arise as a result of lingering
objections to this or that aspect of the Constitution’s provisions.
4. a. A committee brings not just its strengths but its weaknesses.
b. Franklin implies that people have shortcomings as well as
strengths in their character and abilities.
5. a. The reasons he gives include that a general government is
necessary; that no other convention could make a better
constitution, and that enemies of the nation hope for a
disagreement among the separate states.
Literary Analysis
p. 210
a. Restatement: “Mr. President, it is natural to indulge in
the illusions of hope. We are apt to shut our eyes
against a painful truth.” He is reinforcing human
nature’s tendency to avoid painful truths.
b. Repetition: “We must fight! I repeat it, sir, we must
fight!” He emphasizes the word FIGHT!
c. Parallelism: “We have petitioned (asked), we have
remonstrated (objected); we have supplicated (begged),
we have prostrated (been face down) ourselves before
the throne…” This repetition focuses on all the humble
and peaceful approaches the colonists have made. It
makes the king appear unreasonable.
2. Henry’s concession to former speakers’ patriotism and good
intentions establishes his voice as one of considerate
reasonableness pushed to extremes. Franklin’s concession
that those who oppose the ratification have some valid
arguments reinforces his position that some compromise is
3. Henry’s reputation is deserved. The speech has dynamic
imagery, powerful emotional appeals, and eloquent diction.