Over the course of history, there have been times when certain individuals have been called upon to change public opinion in order to accomplish something for the greater good. One such individual was Patrick Henry, who during the Revolutionary period was considered one of the greatest orators, because he significantly influenced the public's attitude. Henry took on the task of changing the opinions of those against separation from England in Virginia; he did so with his speech entitled "Speech in the Virginia Convention," in which he outlined the reasons for creating a new country. Through use of polite introductions, his logical presentation of ideas, and passionate language, Patrick Henry was an extremely effective and prominent orator.
When Henry addressed the Virginia Convention, those that had spoken before him were loyalists - those who were opposed to severance from England. His first words politely allowed him to present another opinion: "Mr. President: No man thinks more highly than I do of the patriotism, as well as abilities, of the very worthy gentlemen who have just addressed the house" (Henry 169). This technique was crucial to Henry's success. This polite introduction not only showed his respect for the men with differing opinions, but started his speech off in a way that was conducive to persuading others. If Henry had not included this type of introduction, he could have seemed unwilling to acknowledge the other opinions presented and possibly rude, making it much more difficult to change the minds of the Virginians. .
Another aspect of Henry's influence over the minds of colonial Americans was the logical way he presented his arguments. Henry began his "Speech in the Virginia Convention" by refuting arguments of his opponents: "Has Great Britain any enemy in this quarter of the world, to call for all this accumulation of navies and armies? No, sir, she has none" (Henry 170).