Patrick Henry - Success and Leadership
Patrick Henry (1736-99)
American politician (pictured right) who fervently supported the American Revolution against British rule.
For more detail see...
The American Declaration of
Independence in the History Highlights section.
Why was he a great leader and successful?
Henry's principles were:
In his most famous speech in 1775, Henry said:
“Give me liberty, or give me death!”
This became a rallying call for Americans fighting for independence and freedom from British rule.
b) virtuous living
He wanted the American Constitution to be based on “virtue, morality and religion”.
“It is when a people forget God that tyrants forge their chains”, he said.
c) people first
People’s needs must come first, and it is their responsibility to
be good, or they will lose their freedom.
The American Constitution must also be “an instrument for the people to restrain the government”.
2. Learning from experience
However painful it might be, he was prepared to learn from
experience and act accordingly.
“I have but one lamp by which my feet are guided and that is the lamp of experience”, he said in his 1775 speech
(see point 1).
“I know of no way of judging of the future, but by the past”, he also said.
He risked his life for his principles, even supporting the overthrow and death of the British king,
George III (pictured right).
Henry told the Assembly of his home state, Virginia, in 1765 (pictured right below in Peter Rothermel's
“Caesar had his Brutus, Charles the First his Cromwell and George the Third (“Treason”, the Speaker then cried)…
may profit by their example”,
He put the interests of his country before his own.
“I am not a Virginian but an American”, he said.
He also knew the importance of unity in the face of danger.
“United we stand, divided we fall”, he said in his last public speech in 1799.
Key quote on the past, present and
I know of no way of judging of the future, but by the past.
Key quotes on
Give me liberty, or give me death!
Perfect freedom is as necessary to the health and vigour of commerce as it is to the health and vigour of
Key quote on the learning
I have but one lamp by which my feet are guided and that is the lamp of experience.
Key quote on God
It is when a people forget God that tyrants forge their chains.
Key quote on corporate
United we stand, divided we fall.
Key quote on fear and
Fear is the passion of slaves.
Key quote on
I am not a Virginian but an American.