Patrick Henry on Making America “Great”
Articles,  Blog

Patrick Henry on Making America “Great”


Patrick Henry did not want to make America “great.” A lot of people today seem to think the greatness of a country is in the size and scope of its government. They’ll point to the things it provides, like healthcare, social programs and other various services. Or they’ll talk about its military power and its place on the world stage. It wasn’t any different during America’s founding. After the Revolution, some people wanted to create a strong, centralized government so America could “be great.” During the Virginia Ratifying Convention, Patrick Henry was afraid the United States would end up with a powerful, consolidated National government, and that it would overwhelm the States. He said this danger came because some people desired what he called a “great splendid” government in order to create a “great and mighty empire.” He said the people yearning for this powerful government wanted it because “we must have an army, and a navy, and a number of things.” Henry urged convention delegates to remember the principles of the Revolution. He said, “When the American spirit was in its youth, the language of America was different; liberty, sir, was then the primary object.”

3 Comments

  • davekpghpa

    Patrick Henry pretty much busted into the constitutional convention, without invitation. He tried to lay down the smack on the federalists, basically asking them what the hell they were doing. I have read the two volume set entitled "The Debate on the Constitution", which consists of nothing but the words of the federalists and anitfederalists debates. No other commentary or spin. Fascinating read. So, after reading this about 25 years ago, I came to the conclusion that Patrick Henry and the anti federalists were right. Damn near all their concerns and warnings, relating to the formation of a so-called limited federal government, have come to fruition.

  • Christopher Scallio

    America is Great because America is Good.
    When America ceases to be Good , she will cease to be Great.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *