Though the author’s former boss, Thomas Jefferson, filed this 1816 biography under “fiction,” there’s no denying this book’s influence—it’s the first record of patriotic orator Patrick Henry’s (1736-1799) “Give me liberty or give me death” speech. Wirt based this life story on eyewitness testimony, and includes speeches unpublished during Henry’s lifetime.
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About the Author
William Wirt (1772-1834) prosecuted Aaron Burr during the Jefferson Administration, and was attorney general under Presidents Monroe and Adams. At the first nominating convention by a United States political party, he became a candidate for President on the Anti-Masonic ticket. His skull, robbed from his grave in the 1970s, wasn’t returned until 2005.