The Introduction to Thomas Kidd’s Patrick Henry: First Among Patriots provides a helpful series of questions when considering the life of this great orator and hero of the Revolution. In light of Henry’s Anti-Federalism, how is one to view the ratification of the Constitution? Was Henry’s concern about the Constitution valid, especially in light of its minimal emphasis of state’s rights? Did the Constitution leave an open door for the entrance of tyranny? Since the people had won liberty, how is this liberty going to be preserved in the 21st century? These questions were worth considering in the 18th century, and seem even more important to consider in our own day.
Thomas Kidd summarizes his introduction with these words:
Can we still place Henry in the pantheon of leading Founders if he opposed the Constitution? Can a sincere patriot question the Constitution itself, the document that has ostensibly become the bedrock of national freedom? Whatever we think of his resistance to the “more perfect union” embraced by other patriots, Henry’s opposition to the Constitution was born out of the cause that defined his career, an unshakable commitment to liberty (xiii).