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Patrick Henry and Mental Health

Updated on March 14, 2016

Comments on Patrick Henry's speech.

Patrick Henry made a speech March 23, 1775 before the Virginia House of Burgesses. His resolution passed 65 to 60 (52%) and the colony of Virginia went to war. Let us review the speech and make comments. The entire speech is contained in the video at the end.

Patrick Henry at statehouse

Liberty or Death is not a good option.
Liberty or Death is not a good option.

Comment, Set peaceful ideals

Our ideals should be peaceful in nature, never advocating violence. Grow and mature, seek alternatives to fighting.

Patrick Henry fears the British.

..... Let us not deceive ourselves, sir. These are the implements of war and subjugation -- the last arguments to which kings resort. I ask gentlemen, sir, what means this martial array, if its purpose be not to force us to submission? .....

Comment, was his fear justified?

Was his fear justified? Patience and diplomacy would have earned representation without violence. Experience shows that violence begets violence and war begets war. Killing for any reason is still killing.

Agree with your enemy quickly said Jesus. "Love your enemy," means make your enemies your friends. Work for want you want, but learn patience. Both Canada and India attained their goals without warfare.

Patrick Henry says there are no alternatives, but to fight.

Sir, we have done everything that could be done to avert the storm which is now coming on..... There is no longer any room for hope. ...-- we must fight! -- I repeat it, sir, we must fight!!

Comment, learn patience

No, the colonists did not do everything they could to achieve their goals. As the population of the colonies grew they grew in influence. With time, perhaps another generation, the colonists would have all they wanted without bloodshed. In 1812 the Americans won the war against Briton. In only 36 years the colonists became much stronger. Population expansion had a profound influence on British policy in America. Time was on the side of the colonists, learn patience.

Patrick Henry seems to have at least a neurotic fear of his countrymen. Note Patrick Henry kept his wife chained in his basement due to her insanity. Perhaps it is the treatment of his wife which caused guilt and fear in him.

Patrick Henry for a Holy Cause.

.... Three millions of people, armed in the holy cause of liberty, and in such a country as that which we possess, are invincible by any force which our enemy can send against us. Besides, sir, we shall not fight our battles alone. There is a just God who presides over the destinies of nations; and who will raise up friends to fight our battles for us.

Comment, God does not make war.

A, "Just God," does not take sides in war. It is not a holy cause to kill someone. Place God over nation. This concept is left over from the Old Testament and most particularly shown in The Book of Joshua. The claim: "a just God will raise up friends to fight our battles for us", is a false claim. It has been false ever since Joshua’s time.

Patrick Henry is reaching to God as his justification. Schizophrenics often identify with God just before they have an episode.

Patrick Henry, there is no peace in his head.

.... Gentlemen may cry, peace, peace -- but there is no peace. The war is actually begun! The next gale that sweeps from the north will bring to our ears the clash of resounding arms! Our brethren are already in the field! Why stand we here idle? What is it that gentlemen wish? What would they have? Is life so dear, or peace so sweet, as to be purchased at the price of chains and slavery? Forbid it, Almighty God! -- I know not what course others may take; but as for me, give me liberty or give me death!

Was Patrick Henry Paranoid?

Patrick Henry obtained up to 78 slaves. If he was so concerned about becoming a slave he should have worked to abolish slavery here.

Slavery was abolished in England 40 years before the Civil War in America (1820's). Had the colonists remained part of Briton, the Civil War could have been avoided. This is an ideal example of how war begets war.

James Madison, the "Father of the Constitution" and a slaveholder himself, basically called Patrick Henry paranoid, because Henry was afraid of a slave uprising. See "The Second Amendment Was Ratified to preserve Slavery," by Thom Hartman.

Patrick Henry's Wife

Note what Patrick Henry did to his wife. It is said she went mad after her sixth child. Patrick Henry decided to keep her in the basement, chained and in a straitjacket. She eventually starved to death. Patrick Henry said, "Give me liberty or give me death" while he kept his wife chained in the basement. ... or is that a quote from her...?

See, "Patrick Henry's Secret"

Consider the war dead.

Many died in the Revolutionary War.

The Revolutionary war caused over 52,294 deaths. Most of the deaths were caused by diseases such as smallpox and scurvy. "Only" 27,440 died in the battle fields.

These totals do not include the stories of the widows and orphans left behind. War historians seem to leave out the history of the widows and orphans.

Complete Speech

Conclusion, obtain a mental health warrant.

The war was actually in Patrick Henry’s head. He had at least a neurotic fear of imminent harm. This symptom is for a mental health professional. The lesson for today is to obtain a mental health warrant for people who promote war and violence.

Mental Illness?

Did Patrick Henry demonstrate a mental illness in this speech?

See results

Mental Health Warrant?

Should a mental health warrant be served on people who advocate violence?

See results


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      Larry Wall 3 years ago

      History is filled with conflicts. Many of the Founding Fathers owned slaves. However, slavery was not the issue. Government without representation was the leading issue. Efforts to establish peace were initiated. They failed. War was inevitable. Had the United States not become a separate country that grew into a superpower, the world, in my opinion, would be far worse off today than it actually is. I do not like war. I like tyranny less.

    • Jay C OBrien profile image

      Jay C OBrien 3 years ago from Houston, TX USA

      Thank you for your comment. Yes, peace efforts were initiated, but they did not fail. They were not given enough time. War is Not inevitable. As population grows, so does influence. It was only a matter of time and patience. A shift in consciousness occurs with time. The U.S. finally recognized the largest country in the word, China. The Civil War could have been avoided by not fighting the Revolutionary War.

      Tyranny today may be avoided by examining leaders who display mental illness. History is full of examples of leaders who lead their country into disaster. See the Polls above: Should a mental health warrant be served on leaders who advocate violence? Should we not make sure our leaders do not become tyrants?

    • profile image

      Larry Wall 3 years ago

      Tell me how to remove foreign leaders who are mentally ill. I agree the civil war would had not been fought if we had not had the revolutionary war. I do believe that we would all be speaking German today as a result of World War II if the United States had not severed its ties with England, developed a Constitution that is unique and prevents military coups and takeovers. This is all academic because your point can never be proved, since we cannot go back in time and do it over again. I cannot prove my point for the same reason. I will just contend that because of the distance separating England from the United States, the British empire could not had endured indefinitely, as it found out with its other colonial holdings around the world. Remember, at one time the sun never set on the British Empire. I for one am grateful not to be ruled by a monarchy and by a superpower that controls the whole world.

    • Jay C OBrien profile image

      Jay C OBrien 3 years ago from Houston, TX USA

      Thank your for your comment. The main point is for us to control our own government. Surely we can agree that we do not want a mentally ill person voting in congress or as our president. I therefore suggest that a panel of respected psychiatrists follow our leaders and inform the public of unstable behavior. If the behavior persists, a mental health warrant may be issued based on a medical diagnosis. Agreed?

    • profile image

      Larry Wall 3 years ago

      You are making the assumption that the mental health professional have it all together--all of them don't. Do we want the TV shrinks on this panel and how are they going to reach their conclusion--through observations, interviews, family history. You may have a nice theory. The realities of bringing it together are difficult. Was Richard Nixon mentally sound. Was John Kennedy and Lyndon Johnson mentally sound. Different people would have different conclusions. We live in democratic republic. The people elect the president (through the Electoral College) and no one is going to stand for per-screening of candidates. Thomas Eagleton, who was running mate for George McGovern back in the 1972 election, had to withdraw because he once had electric shock treatments. Did not make him mentally unstable. I do not know. Also, there is no provision in the constitution for the removal of the president through a mental health warrant. Thus you would need a constitutional amendment to accomplish that. You would never get that out of the House or Senate. Secondly, the issue of privacy between a patient and doctor come into play. Being president, does not mean you have to give up all rights to privacy.

      It is a common problem. A city has an issue, they appoint a "blue ribbon commission," but the people making the appointments are not "blue ribbon caliber" and the issue is that while someone may be an expert in something, but is lacking in other skills. We can control our government at the voting booth and by not sitting back and saying the lobbyists are controlling them. We can pass laws to limit corporate contributions. We can also write our congressmen and other elected officials over, and over about issues that concern us.

    • Jay C OBrien profile image

      Jay C OBrien 3 years ago from Houston, TX USA

      Yes, I agree that not all psych personnel are right for the job. That is why I qualified the statement, " I therefore suggest that a panel of respected psychiatrists follow our leaders ...."

      Congress has the power of impeachment. A medical diagnosis of mental illness from respected physicians could be used in the proceedings. The mechanism therefore exists.

      The mental health warrant would be used to further diagnose the person.

      Psychiatry has developed over the past 50-100 years. Carl Jung stated that Hitler's handwriting was, "feminine." I wish Carl Jung or a protégé had continued the analysis.

    • profile image

      Larry Wall 3 years ago

      The medical community and that includes psychiatrists, are not in agreement on many things. The constitution states: "The President, Vice President, and all civil Officers of the United States shall be removed from Office on Impeachment for, and Conviction of, Treason, Bribery, or other High Crimes and Misdemeanors."

      Mental illness could be the cause of a crime that would be grounds for impeachment, but mental illness along cannot be used. That would become very subjective area where someone could say that the "President is allowing the establishment of diplomatic relations with Cuba. That appears to be the act of an insane man." That is an unlikely example, but I do not think your plan could implemented in a non-partisan manner.

    • Jay C OBrien profile image

      Jay C OBrien 3 years ago from Houston, TX USA

      It is true the medical community is not always in agreement. Mental illness is also not a crime, but do you really want to support mentally ill leaders?

      Art. I Sec. 5

      Each House may determine the Rules of its Proceedings, punish its Members for disorderly Behaviour, and, with the Concurrence of two thirds, expel a Member.

      A mental health committee may give a report to the House. The report may be used in deciding to issue a warrant for further diagnosis and proceedings. It could be done.

      Should we not try to avoid tyranny in our own land?

    • profile image

      Larry Wall 3 years ago

      I am not really concerned about tyranny. Roosevelt tried packing the Supreme Court. Nixon tried to bypass the court and the subpoena powers of the Congress. Both failed. Clinton faced impeachment proceedings for conduct unbecoming anyone including the president--was he mentally ill.

      I would still contend that a sitting president would not have to submit to an examination by a mental health committee. Who is going to appoint this committee, the House, Senate or both. If the appointments happen to be along party lines, will anyone give any validity to the report. What degree of mental illness would be cause to bring impeachment, depression, anxiety, bipolar activity, dementia, etc. Was Ronald Reagan suffering from Alzheimer's before he left office. My mother-in-law showed early symptoms, but no one believe us until she started to forget what she had done earlier in the day. She lived for 10 years with it. She knew her family, but could not remember what she had for lunch.

      A president serves two terms at best. Some only serve one. We have a court that can overrule any action of Congress and even place limitations on the President.

      Tyranny in the United States is not my greatest concern.

      You asked if I wanted to support mentally ill leaders. No I do not.I do not want to support egotistical leaders, weak leaders, party mouthpieces and the other groups that make inappropriate leaders. However, the answer does not lie with having group of mental health professionals, and all mental health professionals do not have it all together. The answer lies with you and me and all the voters who research the history of the candidates who insist on knowing their platforms and cast votes based on ability and beliefs and not party platforms.

    • Jay C OBrien profile image

      Jay C OBrien 3 years ago from Houston, TX USA

      Yes, I agree the answer lies with you and me, the voters, to do the research. However, that does not seem to be happening.

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      Nishk Tormic 3 years ago

      Patrick Henry was a closet Free Mason with significant genetic ancestry to 5 of the 12 original aristocratic houses of Atlantis. Unchecked inbreeding was rampant in his family as they tried to preserve the Atlantian blood. He had religious visions of his angelic ancestors visiting the native Americans, which he had etched on golden plates an buried in the hills of New York. These are what Joseph Smith found.

    • Jay C OBrien profile image

      Jay C OBrien 3 years ago from Houston, TX USA

      The main point was made at the beginning,

      "Our ideals should be peaceful in nature, never advocating violence. Grow and mature, seek alternatives to fighting."

    • Donna Suthard profile image

      Donna Suthard 20 months ago

      Patrick Henry Was mentally ill, so if he did indeed imprison his wife, and the very fact that she starved to death would be considered murder and neglect today in our country!

    • Tamara Moore profile image

      Tamara Yancosky 10 days ago from No Idea Where

      Thank you, Jay. God is a God of Peace, not confusion. This always helps me to feel better and understand His Love and Gentleness better. There is so much mental illness it seems, nowadays, but hopefully the help is there, too, for therapy.



    • Jay C OBrien profile image

      Jay C OBrien 10 days ago from Houston, TX USA

      Thank you Tamara. God, the Ideal, is Good, always, Good and Never Evil. All Evil is a projection of the Human Mind.

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