Early Career

Patrick Henry was born in Hanover County, Virginia. He was educated by his father, John Henry, a planter and county magistrate. After unsuccessful attempts at storekeeping and farming, Patrick studied law and was admitted to the bar in 1760 at the age of 24. His practice grew quickly, and in 1763 he won fame in a lawsuit known as the Parsons' Cause. The case was concerned with the repeal of Virginia legislation (on clergymen's salaries) by the king. Henry denounced the encroachment of the crown in a stirring speech that made him the idol of Virginia.