Rhetorical Analysis Of Patrick Henry And The Massachusetts Convention

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Oration is one of the most ancient art forms in the world and can be used to instigate wars, ally countries, and fight for one’s personal beliefs. “Give Me Liberty or Give Me Death” by Patrick Henry and “To the Massachusetts Convention” by Jonathan Smith are two of the strongest orations of the 18th century. While they are in many ways similar, they are also vastly different. Although they both begin with the exact same address of, “Mr. President,” they have many more differences, including contexts, purposes, and rhetorical strategies. They are also given by two men who share virtually nothing in common. Patrick Henry and Jonathan Smith both use rhetorical strategy to address the president of their time, George Washington; however, the two speeches that develop from those initial phrases convey completely different ideals and spur dissimilar outcomes. As one explores the meaning of these two speeches which were both delivered during the time of the American Revolution, many interpretations and conclusions can be drawn, but the commonly accepted understandings of both speeches show connections and separations. As previously stated, both of the speeches begin with the introductory phrase, “Mr. President.” Patrick Henry and Jonathan Smith were addressing George Washington (“History.org: The Colonial Williamsburg Foundation 's Official History and Citizenship Website"), but he was not officially the president until 1778, when Jonathan Smith gave his speech. Although their first
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