A true patriot.
Patrick Henry is perhaps best known for the speech he made in the House of Burgesses on March 23, 1775, urging legislature to take military action against the encroaching British military force. The House was undecided as to whether to send troops or not, but was leaning toward not committing troops. As Henry stood in Saint John’s Church in Richmond, Virginia, he ended his speech with his most famous words: 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!
The crowd jumped up and shouted "To Arms! To Arms!".
Early in the Revolutionary War, Henry led militia against Royal Governor Lord Dunmore in defense of some disputed gunpowder, an event known as the Gunpowder Incident. During the war, he served as the first post-colonial Governor of Virginia, from 1776-79, an office he held again from 1784-86.
After the Revolution, Henry was an outspoken critic of the United States Constitution and urged against its adoption, arguing it gave the federal government too much power. As a leading Antifederalist, he was instrumental in forcing the adoption of the Bill of Rights to amend the new Constitution. He became a strong opponent of James Madison. By the late 1790s he was a prominent Federalist in support of Washington and Adams. The irony is that most of his followers became Republicans who supported Jefferson’s party. President George Washington offered him the post of Secretary of State in 1795, which he declined. In 1798 President John Adams nominated him special emissary to France, which he had to decline because of failing health.