U. S. Government: Democracy In Action

Chapter 2: Origins of American Government

Student Web Activity

"Patrick Henry—American Patriot"

In this chapter you learned about why the colonists grew resentful of British rule, the ways in which the colonists united to achieve independence, and the new government they created following the revolution. Independence was a costly and difficult endeavor, but the colonists believed that it was a goal worth fighting for. One such colonist, Patrick Henry, was especially adamant about his desire for freedom.

Destination Title: Colonial Williamsburg

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Start at the Colonial Williamsburg Web site.

  • Click on Politics on the menu in the center of the page.
  • Scroll down and click on "Give Me Liberty or Give Me Death!"
  • Read Patrick Henry's speech to the president of the Constitutional Convention, taking notes as you go.

After you have read through the information, answer the following questions.

Henry argued that war was the only option left for the colonies, since they had already tried every other way to reach an agreement with Britain. In what ways had the colonies attempted a peaceful resolution with Britain?
Describe Henry's belief about the importance of truth.
What examples did Henry give to show that the British had no intention of peaceful reconciliation with the colonies?
Do you agree or disagree with Henry's arguments? Was war the only option left for the colonists? How are conflicts between countries today different from conflicts during the colonial period?
On a separate sheet of paper or a poster board, create a poster convincing your fellow American colonists to fight for independence.
US Government: Democracy In Action
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