Patrick Henry: Fallacy Essay

664 Words Jan 10th, 2011 3 Pages
Patrick Henry: Fallacy In his speech during the Virginia Convention, Patrick Henry used a dynamic tone to express his ideas. He utilized the rhetorical technique of fallacy to persuade his audience into thinking that America’s independence was necessary for the good of the nation and its people. Henry takes advantage of fallacies such as the either or fallacy, fallacy of complex questions, appeal of consequence, and appeal to emotion to implement his ideas into the audience. One common type of fallacy that Henry uses is an either-or fallacy; either gain independence by war with Britain or forever stay under the manipulation of the British empire. For example, “For my own part I consider it as nothing less than a question of …show more content…
Shall we acquire the means of effectual resistance by lying supinely on our backs and hugging the delusive phantom of hope, until our enemies shall have bound us hand and foot?” This effectively puts the audience into a panic of a future under the British, luring them more into Henry’s ideas of war. The audience, already hyped from their boosted sense of independence since the beginning of the speech, is now completely vulnerable to Henry’s words. Finally, what I consider the most powerful technique Henry uses is the fallacy of appealing to emotion. Henry talks about various actions that the colonists have already taken to protest the English government, such as, “We have petitioned; we have remonstrated; we have supplicated…” By doing so, the audience is reminded of all these things that have been done, only to realize that they have failed. Henry “reveals” that the English government has only denied them and turned them down each time. “Our petitions have been slighted; our remonstrances have produced additional violence and insult; our supplications have been disregarded; and we have been spurned…” This quote builds up anger in the audience, creating great contempt for the British. The colonists start to feel as though the British have no intention to care about them and will take advantage of Americans every chance they get. By using the rhetorical strategy of fallacy, Patrick Henry is able to persuade his audience into
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