Patrick Henry was born in 1736 in Virginia. He became a lawyer in 1757; he was a skilled and passionate orator, and an advocate for the cause of American rights. He first became well-known as a radical and revolutionary in 1763, when he was the defending lawyer in the "Parson's Cause," a case in which he argued against the royal power to veto colonial laws. In 1765 he was elected to the Virginia House of Burgesses and became its leading radical member, proposing the Stamp Act Resolutions and working to get them passed.
Henry's famous words, "Give me liberty or give me death!" were spoken on 23 March 1775 in the House of Burgesses, when he argued that Virginia had to mobilize troops to check the movements of the British. The following month, royally-appointed governor of Virginia, Lord Dunmore, was growing nervous because of the revolutionary feeling in the colony, so he seized the colonial militia's stockpile of gunpowder. Henry led the militia, chased down Dunmore, and forced him to make payment for the stolen gunpowder. In 1776, Henry was elected governor of Virginia and continued to work for independence from the British.
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