To understand the man and the event, let's go back in time.
The date is Thursday, March 23, 1775. The place: St. John's Church in Richmond Virginia. The event: A meeting of Virginia's colonial leaders at the Second Virginia Convention.
Henry was the delegate from Hanover County at the meeting to discuss the recent proceedings of America's First Continental Congress. Peyton Randolph was President of the Convention attended by 120 delegates, including such notables as George Washington, Thomas Jefferson and Richard Henry Lee.
The meeting turned into a series of debates over whether or not to arm the colony of Virginia as a defense against possible incursions by the British army.