About this Course
“Give me liberty, or give me death:” Remembering Patrick Henry, the Forgotten Founder Patrick Henry was enormously popular during the American Revolution. Even Thomas Jefferson, who over time developed a deep loathing of Henry (some would say jealousy), had to admit that “it is not now easy to say what we should have done without Patrick Henry.” Edmund Randolph, a patriot leader in his own right, explained that “It was Patrick Henry … awakening the genius of his country, and binding a band of patriots together to hurl defiance at the tyranny of so formidable a nation as Great Britain.” Yet, today, Patrick Henry is ill-remembered; most Americans might recall at best perhaps a snippet from a famous speech: “give me liberty, or give me death.” The reasons for our historic forgetfulness are several: after the Revolution, Henry chose to oppose ratification of the U.S. Constitution, believing that it created a distant and too-powerful government, and he refused proffered position in George Washington’s administration, diminishing his historic memory. Equally important, Henry died in 1799 shortly after a political campaign in which, at Washington’s behest, he opposed Jefferson’s and James Madison’s ill-advised radical states’ rights attack on the U.S. government, and Jefferson spent the next twenty-six years systematically attacking Henry’s legacy. Patrick Henry, who helped to ignite a revolution, deserves better. This course will explore how he over¬came challenges to reach the pinnacle of Virginia politics and unite Americans behind a challenge to Britain – the eighteenth century’s super-power, why he opposed the U.S. Constitu¬tion, and why he then came out of retirement to defend the people’s Constitution against the attacks of Jefferson and Madison. Participants should evaluate Henry’s role in proclaiming a revolution and consider whether he had an equally important role in saving it. The course should also develop an improved appreciation for the complex political, economic, and religious forces that shaped the early republic. As a biographical course, it also demonstrates how personalities play an important role in even the most foundational national history. Image Attribution: The background image for this webpage is Patrick Henry before the Virginia House of Burgesses by Peter F. Rothermel (1851) with special thanks to the owner, the Patrick Henry Memorial Foundation. The painting of Patrick Henry's 1765 "Caesar had his Brutus" speech (discussed in the second lecture) is entirely romanticized -- neither Henry nor the House of Burgesses looked at all like this -- but it does show that hagiography of Henry, almost god-like veneration, began shortly after this death.
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Beginner Level

Beginner Level

Clock

Approx. 7 hours to complete

Suggested: 5 hours/week
Comment Dots

English

Subtitles: English
Globe

100% online courses

Start instantly and learn at your own schedule.
Beginner Level

Beginner Level

Clock

Approx. 7 hours to complete

Suggested: 5 hours/week
Comment Dots

English

Subtitles: English

Syllabus - What you will learn from this course

1

Section
Clock
1 hour to complete

Course Introduction

...
Reading
1 video (Total 5 min), 2 readings
Video1 videos
Reading2 readings
Links to Patrick Henry Resources10m
Patrick Henry's Family Tree10m

2

Section
Clock
1 hour to complete

Patrick Henry: Failure and Success

...
Reading
7 videos (Total 42 min), 1 quiz
Video7 videos
Patrick Henry's Education10m
The Problem of Slavery7m
Virginia's Newest Lawyer6m
The Parson's Cause: Background4m
The Parson's Cause: "Treason!"8m
Conclusion: Patrick Henry Failures and Successes2m
Quiz1 practice exercises
Henry's early life24m

3

Section
Clock
1 hour to complete

Revolutionary Henry

...
Reading
8 videos (Total 52 min), 1 quiz
Video8 videos
The Stamp Act Resolves: "Treason!"11m
Successful Lawyer5m
The Coming of the Revolution7m
"Give me liberty, or give me death"7m
Colonel Henry, Governor Henry7m
Governor Jefferson Flees5m
Conclusion: Thomas Jefferson versus Patrick Henry2m
Quiz1 practice exercises
Revolutionary Henry24m

4

Section
Clock
2 hours to complete

Constitutional Henry

...
Reading
11 videos (Total 69 min), 1 quiz
Video11 videos
Post-war Legislator and the Failed Religious Assessment10m
Governor Henry, Again6m
The "Critical Period"3m
Patrick Henry and the Constitutional Convention7m
Challenges to the Proposed Constitution6m
Patrick Henry, Anti-Federalist3m
The Anti-Federalists Challenge the Constitution6m
The Anti-Federalists' Influence7m
Loyal Opposition10m
Conclusion: Constitutional Henry4m
Quiz1 practice exercises
Constitutional Henry24m

5

Section
Clock
2 hours to complete

Patrick Henry Legacy

...
Reading
12 videos (Total 73 min), 1 quiz
Video12 videos
Retirement: Children, Education, and Land7m
Religion in Retirement (and the French Revolution)5m
Virginia's Leading Lawyer8m
Offers of Political Office6m
The Politics of the 1790s: France and England5m
The Alien & Sedition Acts; the Kentucky & Virginia Resolutions5m
Patrick Henry, Federalist4m
Henry's Last Speech7m
Patrick Henry's Death5m
Historic Memory6m
Historic Legacy7m
Quiz1 practice exercises
Patrick Henry Legacy24m
4.8

Top Reviews

By CMJul 7th 2017

I really enjoyed the course. It was well presented and easy to follow. I would recommend it to anyone who may have an interest in the people who founded our great country.

By SHSep 6th 2017

Well presented. Little known facts about the life and political aspects of Patrick Henry made to keep a learner interested. Thank you.

Instructor

About University of Virginia

A premier institution of higher education, The University of Virginia offers outstanding academics, world-class faculty, and an inspiring, supportive environment. Founded by Thomas Jefferson in 1819, the University is guided by his vision of discovery, innovation, and development of the full potential of students from all walks of life. Through these courses, global learners have an opportunity to study with renowned scholars and thought leaders....

About UVA Lifetime Learning, Patrick Henry Memorial Foundation

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