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Patrick Henry : Champion of Liberty
by Jon Kukla


Overview - This authoritative biography of Patrick Henry--the underappreciated founding father best known for saying, "Give me liberty, or give me death "--restores him and his fellow Virginians to their seminal place in the story of American independence.

Born in 1736, Patrick Henry was an attorney and planter, and an outstanding orator in the movement for independence.  Read more...


 
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More About Patrick Henry by Jon Kukla
 
 
 
Overview
This authoritative biography of Patrick Henry--the underappreciated founding father best known for saying, "Give me liberty, or give me death "--restores him and his fellow Virginians to their seminal place in the story of American independence.

Born in 1736, Patrick Henry was an attorney and planter, and an outstanding orator in the movement for independence. A contemporary of Washington, Henry stood with John and Samuel Adams among the leaders of the colonial resistance to Great Britain that ultimately created the United States. The first governor of Virginia after independence, he was re-elected several times. After declining to attend the Constitutional Convention of 1787, Henry opposed the Constitution, arguing that it granted too much power to the central government. Although he denounced slavery as evil, like many other southern slave-owners he accepted its continuation. Henry pushed vigorously for the ten amendments to the new Constitution, and then supported Washington and national unity against the bitter party divisions of the 1790s. He was enormously influential in his time, but his accomplishments, other than his oratory, were subsequently all but forgotten. Kukla's biography restores Henry and his Virginia compatriots to the front rank of advocates for American independence.

Jon Kukla has thoroughly researched Henry's life, even living on one of Henry's estates. He brings both newly discovered documents and new insights to the story of the patriot who played a central role in the movement to independence, the Revolution, the Constitutional era, and the early Republic. This book is an important contribution to our understanding of the nation's founding.

 
Details
  • ISBN-13: 9781439190814
  • ISBN-10: 143919081X
  • Publisher: Simon & Schuster
  • Publish Date: July 2017
  • Page Count: 560
  • Dimensions: 9.3 x 6.4 x 1.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.6 pounds


Related Categories

Books > Biography & Autobiography > Historical
Books > History > United States - Revolutionary Period (1775-1800)
Books > History > United States - Colonial Period (1600-1775)

 
BookPage Reviews

The life of a patriot

Patrick Henry is best known for his defiant words delivered in a May 1775 speech: “I know not what course others may take; but as for me, give me liberty or give me death!” In his authoritative, detailed and absorbing Patrick Henry: Champion of Liberty, Jon Kukla explores Henry’s crucial public roles as an early leader of opposition to the Stamp Act and other repressive measures, as well as a key legislative strategist, an outstanding orator and, perhaps most importantly, a very effective five-term governor of Virginia, his first election to the position coming in 1776. At that time, Henry’s priority was to win the war against Britain and support the Congress and George Washington. After the war, Henry dealt with difficult situations of state and national authority including Native American warfare and a congressional conspiracy against Virginia’s vast western expansion interests.

Washington and Henry were colleagues for years in politics and war, a relationship that was strengthened by Henry’s loyal support of Washington in 1777-78 during an alleged plot to replace him as military commander. The mutual trust remained despite, 10 years later, Washington’s favoring of and Henry’s opposition to the ratification of the Constitution. Henry’s opposition was based on his ideas of liberty and federalism and his fear that the national government would become too powerful. He was instrumental in pushing for a Bill of Rights before James Madison championed the idea. As president, Washington offered Henry positions as secretary of state and as ambassador to Spain, but he declined both.

Henry was increasingly distressed as party politics came to play a more important role in governmental decisions. Henry and Washington felt that true patriots should be able to rise above partisan politics and make decisions based on disinterested commitment to the welfare of the community.

Kukla’s vivid recreation of Henry’s life and times enlightens readers about a man who was much more than his courageous words spoken in 1775.

This article was originally published in the July 2017 issue of BookPage. Download the entire issue for the Kindle or Nook.

 
BAM Customer Reviews