As a Virginian, one of my favorite Founding Fathers is Patrick Henry, a man who is often not given enough credit for his many accomplishments.
Patrick Henry is famously known for his famous quote: “Give me liberty or give me death.” It was a powerful speech that gave men the courage to confront the king and fight for their natural rights as free men. But another one of his important contributions was the enactment of the Virginia Resolves.
In response to the Stamp Act, the House of Burgesses, with Henry’s sponsorship and at his urging, passed the Virginia Resolves on May 29, 1765, which adopted the position of “no taxation without representation.” Henry’s skillful passage of this act in the Virginia House of Burgesses would ultimately prove to be one of the first actions of the War for Independence.
The Virginia House of Burgesses was the first colonial assembly to make this declaration (and possibly the first colonial legislature to openly defy Parliament), but it soon spread throughout the colonies and gave way to the War for Independence. This idea of “no taxation without representation” has been a part of the ideological fabric of our society for the last 200+ years, and we can thank Patrick Henry for his ardent advocacy of this fundamental truth.
Another action that endears me to Patrick Henry was his insistence that a Bill of Rights be included in the U.S. Constitution to protect against a tyrannical government. When we look at the constant assaults on our rights to free speech, freedom of religion and the right to bear arms by the progressives, it is scary to imagine where we would be without a defined Bill of Rights in our Constitution.
Patrick Henry was great man because he was continually vigilant to ensure that the government (whether Parliament or the U.S. federal government) would not lapse into tyranny. He was one of the greatest protectors of our individual liberties and inspired men to fight for their independence from Britain. That is a man to be revered on Independence Day!