Today in History: Patrick Henry’s Famous “Liberty or Death” Speech

Is life so dear, or peace so sweet, as to be purchased at the price of chains and slavery? Forbid it, Almighty God! I know not what course others may take, but as for me, give me liberty or give me death!

— Patrick Henry, Second Virginia Convention, March 23, 1775

These words were the rallying cry for military opposition to British rule. Patrick Henry, a well-respected, 38-year-old lawyer and politician from Hanover County, Virginia, was passionately and publicly against the British Crown since the Stamp Act a decade earlier. The oppression had not eased, and by this time in 1775, it was apparent to Henry that “The war is actually begun!”

Henry was born May 29, 1736, in the British Virginia Colony, and died June 6, 1799, in the state of Virginia, United States of America.

Patrick Henry Mini-Catalog




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