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George Washington tries to encourage gifted orator Patrick Henry to use his considerable powers to argue the case for colonial independence before the Virginia House of Burgesses, but the lawmaker's promise to his wife initially deters him. When the political climate changes, she eventually gives her consent, and Henry delivers his rousing "Give Me Liberty" speech to an enthusiastic legislature. Written by
Gabe Taverney (email@example.com)
The guests at General Washington's house are shown dancing to Beethoven's "Minuet in G," which was not composed until 1796. In fact, Beethoven was only born in 1770, i.e. five years after the events shown at the beginning of the film. See more »
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 cause others may take, but as for me, give me liberty or give me death!
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Give Me Liberty was the first of three short subjects in which character actor John Litel played the fiery Virginia bred founding father. This one is a competently made film which gives the essence of the real Patrick Henry.
One of the other reviewers mentioned that he thought Litel was old fashionedly flamboyant as Henry. But in point of fact that's what he was in real life. He was indeed the kind of spell binding orator whose words did move men. Henry was one of the leaders of the Virginia bar as well as a Delegate in the Virginia House of Burgesses, his summations to the jury were legendary.
That aroused a lot of jealousy among his contemporaries. Thomas Jefferson whose forte was writing not speaking, trained as a lawyer as a young man. I recall reading Dumas Malone's multi-volume Jefferson biography where Jefferson wrote in his diary about how hard he worked on researching precedents and that all Patrick Henry did was bamboozle juries with bull. Nothing's changed in over 230 years as far as lawyers in this country. Jefferson gave up law practice and it was Patrick Henry's stock in trade.
He was a mercurial man Henry, you never knew which side of an issue he'd wind up on. He was at various stages after the Revolution, a Federalist and an anti-Federalist whatever the mood struck him.
Don't look for consistency with Henry, but this film will give you a good idea what he was like in his glory days of the Revolutionary War.
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