Patrick Henry

American Founding Father, orator and politician (1736 – 1799)

Patrick Henry (May 29, 1736 – June 6, 1799)[1] served as the first post-colonial Governor of Virginia from 1776 to 1779. He is known for his "Give me Liberty or give me death" speech in 1775 shortly before the American Revolutionary War in St. John's Church. He was a fiery speaker who evoked great emotion from listeners. He unsuccessfully opposed the United States Constitution, which made him an enemy of John Adams and the Federalist Party. After the French Revolution, however, he supported Adams.

Patrick Henry
Portrait by George Bagby Matthews after Thomas Sully, c. 1891
1st and 6th Governor of Virginia
In office
December 1, 1784 – December 1, 1786
Preceded byBenjamin Harrison V
Succeeded byEdmund Randolph
In office
July 5, 1776 – June 1, 1779
Preceded byEdmund Pendleton (acting)
Succeeded byThomas Jefferson
Delegate from Virginia to the Continental Congress
In office
September 5, 1774 – August 1, 1775
Preceded byOffice established
Succeeded byThomas Nelson Jr.
Member of the
Virginia House of Delegates
ConstituencyHenry County
Prince Edward County
Charlotte County
Member of the
Virginia House of Burgesses
ConstituencyLouisa County
Hanover County
Personal details
BornMay 29, 1736 [O.S. May 18, 1736]
Studley, Colony of Virginia, British America
DiedJune 6, 1799(1799-06-06) (aged 63)
Red Hill, Charlotte County, Virginia, U.S.
Resting placeRed Hill Patrick Henry National Memorial
Political partyAnti-Federalist
MotherSarah Winston Syme Henry
FatherJohn Henry
RelativesWilliam Henry (brother), Elizabeth Henry Campbell Russell (sister), Annie Henry Christian (sister)
  • Politician
  • planter
  • lawyer
Military service
AllegianceUnited Colonies
Branch/serviceVirginia militia
Years of service1775—1776
  • 1st Virginia Regiment
  • Hanover County Militia
Battles/warsAmerican Revolutionary War

His wife, Sarah Shelton, had a mental illness and died in 1775. He married his second wife, Dorthea Dandrige, two years later in 1777.

As governor of Virginia, Patrick Henry since 1776, he was one of the main architects of the requests for aid to the nascent United States, for which, in 1776 he requested support from the governor of Louisiana, Luis de Unzaga, key help for this birth.[2]


  1. "Patrick Henry Timeline". Patrick Henry National Memorial. Archived from the original on 2006-10-04. Retrieved 2007-11-28.
  2. Cazorla, Frank (2019), Governor Luis de Unzaga (1717-1793) Precursor in the birth of the United States and in liberalism. Malaga Foundation / City Council. page 89