Patrick Henry was born on May 29, 1736, in Studley, Virginia. He was a brilliant orator and an influential leader in the opposition to British government. As a young lawyer, he astonished his courtroom audience in 1763 with an eloquent defense based on the doctrine of natural rights—the political theory that man is born with certain inalienable rights.
On his twenty-ninth birthday, as a new member of Virginia's House of Burgesses, Henry presented a series of resolutions—the Stamp Act Resolves—which opposed Britain's Stamp Act. The Resolves were adopted on May 30, 1765. He concluded his introduction of the Resolves with the fiery words "Caesar had his Brutus, Charles the First his Cromwell, and George the Third—" when, it is reported, voices cried out, "Treason! treason!" He continued, "—and George the Third may profit by their example! If this be treason make the most of it."