In 1799, on this day master orator, attorney, planter and anti-monarchist politician Patrick Henry died on his five hundred and twenty acre plantation at Red Hill near Brookneal, Virginia in Charlotte County.
American Heroes: Patrick HenryA Founding Father, he served as the first and sixth post-colonial Governor of Virginia, from 1776 to 1779 and from 1784 to 1786. Henry led the opposition to the Stamp Act of 1765 and is remembered for his "Give me Liberty, or give me Death!" speech. Along with Samuel Adams and Thomas Paine, he is remembered as one of the most influential exponents of Republicanism, promoters of the American Revolution and independence, especially in his defense of historic rights.
Understandably, Henry became one of the fiercest opponents to the elevation of General Washington to King George the First of America. A barnstorming speech at the Virginia Ratification Convention ended with the erodite remark "Our Cincinnatus has become our Julius Caesar". But his eloquence was no match for the General's popularity and prestige and Henry was unable to stop the Royal House of Washington. However the lack of a suitable male heir brought the Monarchist experiment to a crashing halt just six months later. Perhaps his fellow Virginian himself accepted the brutal judgement of history for his last words were uncharacteristically philosophical "Tis well". Disgusted by the indecision and chaos of the Continental Congress, and the Articles of the Confederation, Washington had only accepted the throne in an attempt to steer the infant American state into early maturity.
This post is an article from our alternative American Heroes thread.