Compare Patrick Henry And Thomas Paine

Comparing Thomas Paine and Patrick Henry
The subject of the American Revolutionary War brings about many names into mind. Of the Revolutionary writers, perhaps two of the most significant, the most influential, would be Patrick Henry, the author of the “Speech to the Virginia Convention,” and Thomas Paine of the “Crisis, No. 1” There are many similarities between the speeches of the two writers. Both deemed Great Britain as a tyranny, claimed that the people of the United States deserved independence and freedom, and urged for war effort. However, between Henry and Paine, Henry’s speech was more effective in persuading men to join the American Revolution cause. Henry’s use of rhetorical questioning, emotional appeal (pathos) through loaded
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These differences are instrumental in making Henry’s speech more effective. Henry presented his speech on March 23, 1775, which was before the Revolutionary War began whereas Paine wrote months after the war began. Henry’s audience was the Members of the Virginia Convention, top-tier government officials who would be responsible to call for war: “By custom, Henry addressed himself to the Convention’s president, Peyton Randolph of Williamsburg.” Paine, on the other hand, aimed his speech as the American public in general: “I call not upon a few, but upon all.” Henry’s speech was the trigger that sent America into the war. It only took a month after his speech that the Revolutionary War officially began. Paine’s speech, on the contrary, was a motivation booster to recruit more people into the army to fight in the war; there were already a large number of soldiers in the fight. Henry did the much harder task of persuading the government to sent a country, millions of people, into a war that may fail and cause sizable number of …show more content…
While it is true that Paine includes an anecdote of the war, Henry uses history to prove his point. Paine’s story takes up much of his speech, and although opponents may claim that it allows the audience to get empathize with the war effort, it is too detailed, too extensive, and unnecessary: “As I was with the troops at Fort Lee, and marched with them to the edge of Pennsylvania, I am well acquainted with many circumstances, which those who live at a distance know but little or nothing of…” Unlike Paine, because Henry’s speech is before the war, it is not possible for him to include personal experience. Instead, Henry includes previous attempts at argument, as a reference: “And what have we to oppose to them? Shall we try argument? Sir, we have been trying that for the last ten years. Have we anything new to offer upon the subject? Nothing.” By doing this, Henry is able to prove his point simply on why war is necessary, without extending his speech drastically as Paine. This once again shows the superiority of effectiveness of Henry’s speech over Paine’s. Although both Thomas Paine and Patrick Henry were great writers of the American Revolution era, Henry’s speech was overall more successful in promoting men to fight for independence. Henry’s clever use of questioning, pathos, and audience exemplify this. Henry achieved in his speech

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