Patrick HenryPatrick Henry, (1736-1799) US Founding Father

Famous Patrick Henry Quote

“I have but one lamp by which my feet are guided, and that is the lamp of experience. I know of no way of judging the future but by the past.”

Patrick HenryPatrick Henry
~ Patrick Henry

Speech on the Stamp Act, Virginia Convention

Ratings and Comments

Megan, Conestoga

This quote reminds me of the Bible verse that says "...You are the lamp to my feet and the light to my path..." The only thing I don't agree with is when Patrick Henry when he said that the lamp that guides him is experience. God should be the lamp that guides you and gives you experience.

big, nibba
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big, nibba Megan, Conestoga 4/16/19

Jesus christ, that is the cheesiest, dumbest thing I've ever heard, when did God give lessons about how someone like Patrick Henry should act in his political career? 

Mike, Norwalk
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Mike, Norwalk big, nibba 4/17/19

big, from nibba  your bigotry and ignorance drowns out anything you were trying to spew forth. By experience, individuals interacting physically, mentally, spiritually  in all ways with the Christ understand their political and otherwise lamp guided footsteps. Those so deprived of such experience cannot even fathom the familiarity or proficiency.

Alan Moss, Atlanta, GA

This is so true.

Bruce, Savannah, TN

I don't think Henry was trying to supplant the Bible verse; he was merely highlighting the value of experience over inexperience. There is no better way to judge the future than by the past, experience makes this possible.

MP, Victoria

Connotation is everything here. I believe the lamp of experience is a reference to his faith and his life. Let's give Patrick Henry his dap!

Joseph tee, pretoria

These things somewhere are giving and saving someone's life, and critising is only killing the meaning and purpose these great writers intended.

Mike, Norwalk

Well over 80% of the Constitution was a direct result of interpreting Biblical history. The same truth(s) was available in other historical data but Biblical history was used specifically because of the Patrick Heneries and other founders' familiarity. Today's destruction of the Constitution, freedom, liberty, rights, sovereignty, prosperity, etc. can also all be mapped through the illumination of history.

jim k, austin

Patrick Henry is exactly right. I wish that our incoming president would pay attention to the past. He proposes a tax increase on businesses and a huge public works program. The public works stuff was implemented by Franklin Roosevelt in the '30s to end the depression which only made it worse. Our intrance into the war after December 7th,1941 ended the depression. As to tax increases, Obama should take a hint from the Chinese who are cutting taxes on businesses to spur edonomic growth and their business taxes are already lower than ours. Raising taxes on business people will drive down the economy lower than it is now.

William Henry Harris, Riverton Borough

Patrick Henry's knowledge was destroyed by the same street urchin reprresentatives and their minions who control us today! His writings have been expunged and little or no reference to him are available today. He was a true champion of "We The People." A populist of the first order, and I believe Dr. Ron Ernest Paul will be treated the same way Patrick Henry has been forgotten except for his "Give Me Liberty or Give Me Death" speech at the founding of our present Republic. He also was quoted as saying I smell a RAT!!! Too bad others did not heed his warning. The Articles of Confederation were destroyed for lack of knowledge on the part of our founders who tryed in vain to solve the so-called short comings of the "Articles." Nuf said...-whzh-

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RBESRQ    12/12/08

Unfortunately we forget the past when judging the future - I think in this case he may have put his foot in it, as there are other lamps needed to light the path. Judging the future also needs understanding and wisdom, both of which are not necessarily the result of experience. He who thinks he knows the path into the future doesn't, but he he knows he doesn't does ( a play on an old Vedic prayer).

RKA, Wasilla, AK

First off, its good to be back from a long hiatus. I am not too sure if I agree with MP. Connotation may be from his faith, but in no way was he stating that he is being guided by God. This quote is worth mulling over and over for its gravitation towards pragmatism which is a rarity these days, where absolute conservatism rules and liberty is at stake.

E Archer, NYC

Not just my own experience of my past but of others' pasts as well.

Waffler, Smith, Arkansas

A great insight my Mr. tee from Pretoria although our criticizm and comments are part of this site. Mr. tee as great as these men were they are not "gods" and just because they wrote things down does not mean that we and the people "whose lives are being saved" by these quotes cannot think for themselves and maybe even we can learn from each other (with the exception of Archer that is). I like RKA's tilt toward pragmatism, I think that is the essence of "the light under are feet". For the religious minded like Mike I have heard it said that "good religion is common sense" which is to say that good religion is pragmatic.

Bob Gammon, Summerfield Fl.

"Religion"? Not Chistianity. Religion is the story of Man's search for God. Christianity is the story of God's search for man.(Ref.Holy Bible) RG

Jim, Blanket, TX

Experience is a great teacher. If we are wise we listen. If we are foolish we don't. With the failure of communism and the present death throws of the socialistic experience in Europe, our President seems to be following the foolish route. As Forrest Gump would say: "Stupid is as stupid does." No need to say more.

c u, ga
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c u, ga    9/23/10

i like this quote but it should be god instead of experience if you want my opinon

Zhaelissa, Duluth

cool :]

David Rasner, Exeter, CA

Waffler, you got it...our founding fathers were a result of the Age of Enlightenment, a unique blend of people who believed in being extremely educated and well read, believed in God, separation of church and state, and pragmatism, (common sense). We need more of this today... Patrick Henry was using a biblical allusion but also tipping his hat to Hobbes, Locke, and Berkeley. We really could use less reactionism and more pragmatism. If you have read your history, you'll see that "bad times", have always lead to racism, intolerance, and persecution. The Plague, Salem Witch Trials, etc. Blaming someone always makes us feel better, but does nothing to solve the problem. It's ironic, the very people who have labeled Obama a socialist, (and actually made the absurd leap to Hitler's Nazi Socialist Party), should take note that Hitler was feeding an anti-semetic frenzy that had grown out of really bad economic times. Hitler was an opportunist, much like, and I know this may seem harsh, the Tea Party movement. Even more ironic, this is the second time the United States' economic irresponsibility has affected Germany/Europe, so "the present death throws of the socialist experiment in Europe" is actually a result of unchecked and wild free-market capitalism. Wow, do I sound like a communist or what. I'm not, all I'm saying is we need to think more, than hate more. The British were a real threat to freedom and democracy, as long as we can vote Obama out, he does not present some crazy threat. Just a guy that is trying his absolute best to get us out of crap storm that W. got us into. Sadly, as a country, we can't remember anything that happened in the past. I blame it on televised media and the death of investigative journalism. Ok, off my soapbox.

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Dezara    9/27/12

beautiful :D

Bill, Nashville, Tennessee

I think Patrick Henry was a Hero in the real sense of the word. I just walked out of the den where my wife had the TV tuned to Peers Morgan. He is typical of the marjority of the US population-a bunch of lemmings! Look at Europe in late 1030's early 1940's. Europe went down but the US saved them. We are going down! Who is going to save us?!

Nancy Goins, 2Rivers, WI

I think this is a wonderful and useful quote. Most of the comments here are incorrect in so many ways concerning history and especially God, except for Mr. Rasner. He seems to be the only one who has an intelligent and informed comment with which I agree.

Mark Baird, Fort Jones

Patrick Henry is telling us there is nothing new under the sun. All of the tyranny of the British Monarch and today's government had been and continues to be attempted today. In 1689, the Evil and Pernicious design. William got the kings chair because James was forced to flee for ignoring the Liberties guaranteed the people. The Constitution was not meant to protect us against changing times. The Constitution was meant to protect us from the good intentions of well meaning despots. Listen to Patrick, and to history for it is the oracle of truth.

Ronw13, OR

" And not only so, but we glory in tribulations also: knowing tribulation worketh patience; and patience, experience; and experience, hope: And hope maketh not ashamed; because the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost which is given unto us." Romans 5:3,4,5. kjb
I am sure Patrick Henry was well versed, know the source of our Liberty and Freedom. 

Ronw13, OR

With original intent in mind, experience being our guide, Our founding fathers being well versed, studied, enlightened, to know that a Shaphat government was needed, an act of deliverance from injustice or oppression. " Nevertheless the Lord raised up judges, which delivered them out of the hand of those that [plundered] them." Judg 2:16

big, nibba
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big, nibba    4/15/19

Y'all are homo


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