Comparison Of The Speeches By Patrick Henry And Benjamin Franklin

Throughout American history many individuals have made impactful speeches that have had a major effect on the listeners’ views of topics in their society. Some speeches have covered the same issues and or topics just in different time periods. This portrays to be true in two famous speeches made by two well known individuals. Benjamin Franklin and his speech at the convention of 1787; as well as Patrick Henry’s speech at the Virginia convention in 1765 on American ideology. These two speeches emphasize the idea of America being the land of freedom, unity and opportunities. 

Patrick Henry was a very patriotic person his sole purpose was to persuade the colonists to fight for their freedom and the freedom of America. Henry delivered a very powerful speech in a very hostile environment; he was polite and respectful towards the audience. Henry knew that if he empowered his audience, he was going to be heard. His tone throughout the speech was angry and upset; he wanted the audience to feel the impotence that he felt. “We have petitioned; we have remonstrated; we have supplicated; we have prostrated ourselves before the throne, and have implored its interposition to arrest the tyrannical hands of the ministry and Parliament”. In the previous quote, Henry tries to convince the people that everyone has tried everything possible to come to an agreement peacefully, but in return they got mistreatments. Consequently, Henry created the idea that war was the only solution, sparking the Revolutionary War. 

Benjamin Franklin was a very respected man and a well known person. Benjamin Franklin did not approve the constitution, for the lack of distribution of powers it had. He wanted to make sure that the future of the nation was secure. In the Constitutional Convention of 1787, Franklin delivered his famous speech in a very calm and mellow tone. Throughout the speech he changed his mindset moderately. He understood that the constitution was going to have flaws, and that some of them could be corrected, but those flaws was what was going to bring the people together. In the book, Benjamin Franklin by Carl Van Doren, gives an inside look of what was

Benjamin Franklin aiming for that day, in the convention. “His desire was to see it as much a unit in fact as it was in his large conception of it”. Benjamin Franklin wanted to see everyone coming together in order to work together to improve America. 

Patrick Henry and Benjamin Franklin were the right people, at the right time, and in the right moment in each of their situations. Their speeches were very appealing to the audience because they knew how to talk, and what to have in their speeches to call their attention. Benjamin Franklin restates a lot of his ideology about the constitution in his speech. He starts by saying his disagreement with the constitution, and then later on he brings up the idea of agreeing with the constitution even with its faults. Patrick Henry uses the restatement in this speech by giving his audience an image of how the Bristish want to take their freedoms away, and how they should let that happened. For this reason he uses a lot of rhetorical questions in his speech. He wanted the people to really think about it, rather than answer it. An example of this is the following quote from the article Patrick Henry Vs Big Government by Harlow Giles Unger, “Why stand we here idle? I know not what course others may take, but as for me, Give me liberty! Or give me death”. That statement got stuck with a lot of people because he would rather die, give his life in exchange for freedom; than be under the British power. Benjamin Franklin also used rhetorical questions one of them was “From such an assembly can a perfect production be expected?”, with this question he wants people to start thinking that if everyone unanimity with the constitution, everything was going to be successful. Benjamin Franklin and Patrick Henry used a lot of “Sir” and “Mr. President” to show politeness and empowerment. 

These two speeches were successful, because they helped to improve America’s future. For this reason, the United States is considered one of the best countries to live in. Due to the freedom, unity and opportunities that each individual has by living in this country. If Patrick Henry had not given his speech in the Virginia convention, the colonists would not have revolt against the British, and people would not have the “american dream”. Also, Benjamin Franklin would not have given his speech, which helped to shape the America that people know today. 

09 March 2021
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