American Revolution
Patrick Henry

Patrick Henry
Reading Level
     edHelper's suggested reading level:   grades 6 to 8
     Flesch-Kincaid grade level:   6.55

     challenging words:    brethren, imposing, orator, forged, reopened, uttered, tavern, successful, persuade, rally, favor, ability, death, education, treason, constitution
     content words:    Patrick Henry, Samuel Adams, Thomas Paine, When King George III, Stamp Act, King George, Almighty God, Continental Congress, Constitutional Convention

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Patrick Henry
By Jane Runyon

1     Some people are known for their athletic ability. Some people are known for their artistic ability. Some people are known for their intelligence. Patrick Henry was known for his ability to talk. He loved the English language and learned to use it to persuade many people to think the way he did. He was, perhaps, the greatest orator America has ever seen. He was not always a successful man. In his early years he suffered through failures, but he didn't let them get him down.
2     Patrick Henry was born in Virginia on May 29, 1736. His father had come to the colonies from Scotland. Patrick's father educated his son at home. He wanted Patrick to be able to read both English and Latin. Latin was the language of the people of Rome in Italy. No one spoke the language any longer, but it was still very important for people who studied medicine, law, and other subjects of higher learning. It was during his home education with his father that Patrick developed his love of language. As a young man, Patrick tried farming and running a store. Neither one of these occupations seemed to fit him. While running the store, he took it upon himself to start studying law. He learned what he needed to know on his own and went to Williamsburg to take the test that would give him the right to practice law in Virginia. It was while he was in Williamsburg that he met several men who would influence him in the future.
3     Patrick Henry was a member of the House of Burgesses in 1765. This group of men was to be the governing body for all of the colonies. Although there were delegates from each of the colonies present, the decisions were all made in favor of what the king wanted. Samuel Adams, Thomas Paine, and Patrick Henry decided to change that practice. When King George III wanted the House of Burgesses to pass the Stamp Act, these three men spoke out against it. Many of the members tried to shout Patrick Henry down by yelling, "Treason." Treason is a serious offense against government, and it means betraying your country. Patrick Henry then uttered one of his famous quotes. He said, "If this be treason, make the most of it." King George became furious when he heard about Henry's speech. He was so angry that he sent all the members of the House of Burgesses home and told them they could no longer meet. This didn't stop the colonists. They went to a tavern in Williamsburg and made plans to stop the king from imposing any more taxes.

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