The Meaning of Liberty: A Comparison of Patrick Henry's Personal Beliefs

Essay by BobmuhtholHigh School, 10th gradeA+, May 2006

download word file, 2 pages 3.7

To Patrick Henry, and to most colonists (specifically, those who were in agreement with him), liberty was a very fair and balanced concept. His speech was written and delivered after, and a great deal because of, the onslaught of British taxes, laws, and injustices in the colonies. Patrick Henry stated that he would consider himself guilty of treason to not speak his opinion out of fear of offending. This alone demonstrates a responsibility he places on himself that will later become a well-known topic of free speech in the United States Constitution. Patrick Henry feels that liberty is necessary for life, liberty being a lack of rule under a tyranny, and he acknowledges that war is to be the result. He is willing to fight a battle to the death because he and the colonists have been treated unjustly. It is clear, then, that Patrick Henry believes that liberty is a most important part of life.

It grants individual freedoms as well as societal ones; and those freedoms are vital in order for a society to function properly. Britain's rule in the colonies directly violated the liberty of colonists. Patrick Henry sought to correct this, and he was successful.

To me, liberty as a whole is contradictory. It is my belief that true liberty comes when one is not legally bound by laws that grant freedoms, privileges, or obligations by factors such as age. I will defend vehemently the right and logic of the government to make these laws, but I refuse to call it liberty. Liberty simply can not exist in its intended meaning in a community, country, etc. There are so many precautions that must be taken in every domain that full liberty becomes degraded. Never has existed and never will a civilized society where one has...