Speech Analysis: Speech in the Virginia Convention

In Patrick Henry’s, “Speech In the Virginia Convention,” two persuasive techniques that are used in the speech include restatement and rhetorical questions. The first technique that Henry often incorporates in his speech is restatement. Restatement is considered an idea that is rephrased among a speech but in different word variations. This device is frequently seen throughout Henry’s verbal communication.

One major theme that Henry conveys in his speech is the idea of slavery. This concept of slavery is used multiple times in different forms. An example of this is when Henry talks about the idea of chains. Henry states, “They are sent over to bind and rivet upon us those chains which the British ministry have been so long forging.”(204). This quote is informing the reader that the British soldiers are being sent over to win the people of his state over slavery, and force them into a battle.

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Another way restatement is included in Henry’s speech is when he gives images about their freedom. By doing this, Henry is showing the congress that the British are trying to take their independence away, and that if they go into battle first this can be prevented. Henry’s restatement of slavery can be seen when he states, ” If we wish to be free, if we mean to preserve inviolate those inestimable privileges for which we have been so long contending, if we mean not basely to abandon the noble struggle in which we have been so long engaged, and which we have pledged ourselves never to abandon until the glorious object of our contest shall be obtained-we must fight!”(205). This repetitive concept of slavery that Henry pushes can be noted as a pathos, or Emotional appeal. Henry’s aggressive and meaningful acknowledgments of slavery indicate his strong passion for freedom and how he is against this idea of becoming an enslaved nation under British rule.

Another idea Henry often repeats is the immorality of King George and his plot to go against Henry’s nation. He depicts the King in various ways, demonstrating his malice personality. An example Henry uses relating King George’s bane characteristics was to Judas in the Bible. Another comparison that is seen in the speech is correlating to King George as a siren. This comparison is explaining how the king will draw them in as well as forcing them into transforming their country if they chose to listen to his actions. Patrick Henry’s, “Speech in the Virginia Convention” contains numerous examples relating to the rhetorical device known as restatement.

Among this meticulous speech written by Patrick Henry, another type of device that is used is rhetorical questions. This device can be described as when the speaker asks a question that does not seek an actual verbal answer. These type of questions are often used in debates for the opponent to question beliefs and make one think in a new and dissimilar way. An example of when this device is used is when Henry says, “Is this the part of wise men, engaged in a great and arduous struggle for liberty?”(204). This specific question is used to cause those listening to reevaluate their thoughts use a different type of way of thinking.

Another time this device is used in this speech is when Henry asks the question, “But when shall we be stronger?”(205). By asking this, he is relating to the lack of effort and thought that is being put into this battle. The type of questions mentioned in this speech lead to a very emotional appeal, by how vigorously Henry is trying to explain his liberal thoughts and beliefs. In the “Speech in the Virginia Convention”, Patrick Henry passionately expresses his thoughts on declaring war and fighting for independence, as well as using various types of persuasive techniques that help remonstrate these words.