A Quote by Patrick Henry on argument, caution, constitution, evil, government, presidency, style, and world

Patrick Henry opposed the federal Constitution not only because it lacked a Bill of Rights in its unamended form, but also because it would establish a "consolidated government" rather than a confederation of states. It is proper to note George F. Willison's caution that "[s]peeches by Henry and others, as reported, were approximations of what was said. . . . The 'shorthand gentlemen' of the convention did not attempt a verbatim report of everything that was said. Rather, they reported the lines of argument, the special points that were made, but their notes did manage to convey something of the style of the various speakers, picking up and preserving many of their more graphic phrases." (George F. Willison, Patrick Henry and His World, 1969) "The Constitution is said to have beautiful features; but when I come to examine these features, Sir, they appear to me horribly frightful. Among other deformities, it has an awful squinting - it squints towards monarchy. And does not this raise indignation in the breast of every true American? Your president may easily become king. . . . Where are your checks in this government? . . . I would rather infinitely - and I am sure most of this convention are of the same opinion - have a king, lords, and commons than a government so replete with such insupportable evils."

Patrick Henry (1736 - 1799)

Source: at the Virginia convention for constitutional ratification, June, 1788

Contributed by: Zaady