The much anticipated (at least by me) American Conservatism: An Encyclopedia is now available via Amazon and ISI and many other places.

Order it today!

The following is a sample entry on Patrick Henry, 1736-1799, penned by one of the lesser known contributors but who is, nevertheless, of special interest to the Bosque Boys.

Commonly considered the greatest orator of the American Revolution, Patrick Henry’s fiery denunciations of consolidation also provided a rallying point for critics of centralized government following the War for Independence. Henry journeyed from proto-nationalist to Anti-Federalist and then back to Federalist during his long career, and his political odyssey reflects the persistent tension between liberty and order so prevalent during his time and beyond. A self-educated native of Virginia, the “forest-born Demosthenes” emerged as a gifted lawyer during his mid-twenties. Speaking in opposition to the Stamp Act in 1765, Henry gained international recognition when he defiantly declared “if this be treason, make the most of it.” A decade later, addressing the Virginia legislature in support of Independence, he uttered his most celebrated call to arms: “Give me liberty or give me death.” During the Revolution he served as wartime governor of Virginia. As a delegate to the First Continental Congress in 1774, Henry exuberantly declared himself “not a Virginian but an American.” He renounced nationalism thirteen years later when he refused election to the Constitutional Convention (called ostensibly to modify the Articles of Confederation), proclaiming that he “smelt a rat.” Henry then directed the campaign in Virginia to block ratification of the federal compact. Pronouncing the federal union merely a scheme devised by northern states to “despoil” the southern states of their wealth, he also warned that the Constitution provided little protection against tyranny. As Virginia’s leading Anti-Federalist, he faulted the document for an unrealistic reliance on “good men” and predicted that some ambitious and able President would inevitably make a “bold push for the American throne.” Although he lost the argument (Virginia ratified the Constitution in 1788), Henry remained a hero and a political force in his home state for another decade. Ironically, in his final years Henry returned to his nationalist roots, embracing the Federalist Party and remaining active as a Federalist until his death in 1799.

Other entries of special interest: Stephen A Douglas, The Federalist Party, The American Tories (Loyalists) and Dwight Eisenhower.