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Give Me Liberty or Give Me Death

This is the complete text of Patrick Henry's speech 
at St. John's Church in Richmond, Virginia on March 23, 1775.

No man, Mr. President, thinks more highly than I do of the patriotism, as well as abilities, of the very worthy gentlemen who have just addressed the House. But different men often see the same subject in different lights; and, therefore, I hope it will not be thought disrespectful to those gentlemen if, entertaining as I do opinions of a character very opposite to theirs, I shall speak forth my sentiments freely and without reserve. This is no time for ceremony.


The question before the House is one of awful moment to this country. For my own part, I consider it as nothing less than a question of freedom or slavery; and in proportion to the magnitude of the subject ought to be the freedom of the debate. It is only in this way that we can hope to arrive at truth, and fulfill the great responsibility which we hold to God and our country. Should I keep back my opinions at such a time, through fear of giving offense, I should consider myself as guilty of treason towards my country, and of an act of disloyalty toward the Majesty of Heaven, which I revere above all earthly kings.

Mr. President, it is natural to man to indulge in the illusions of hope. We are apt to shut our eyes against a painful truth, and listen to the song of that siren till she transforms us into beasts. Is this the part of wise men, engaged in a great and arduous struggle for liberty? Are we disposed to be of the number of those who, having eyes, see not, and, having ears, hear not, the things which so nearly concern their temporal salvation? For my part, whatever anguish of spirit it may cost, I am willing to know the whole truth; to know the worst, and to provide for it.


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 of the future but by the past. And judging by the past, I wish to know what there has been in the conduct of the British ministry for the last ten years to justify those hopes with which gentlemen have been pleased to solace themselves and the House. Is it that insidious smile with which our petition has been lately received? Trust it not, sir; it will prove a snare to your feet. Suffer not yourselves to be betrayed with a kiss. Ask yourselves how this gracious reception of our petition comports with those warlike preparations which cover our waters and darken our land. Are fleets and armies necessary to a work of love and reconciliation? Have we shown ourselves so unwilling to be reconciled that force must be called in to win back our love? Let us not deceive ourselves, sir. These are the implements of war and subjugation; the last arguments to which kings resort. I ask gentlemen, sir, what means this martial array, if its purpose be not to force us to submission? Can gentlemen assign any other possible motive for it? Has Great Britain any enemy, in this quarter of the world, to call for all this accumulation of navies and armies? No, sir, she has none. They are meant for us: they can be meant for no other. They are sent over to bind and rivet upon us those chains which the British ministry have been so long forging.

And what have we to oppose to them? Shall we try argument? Sir, we have been trying that for the last ten years. Have we anything new to offer upon the subject? Nothing. We have held the subject up in every light of which it is capable; but it has been all in vain. Shall we resort to entreaty and humble supplication? What terms shall we find which have not been already exhausted? Let us not, I beseech you, sir, deceive ourselves. Sir, we have done everything that could be done to avert the storm which is now coming on. We have petitioned; we have remonstrated; we have supplicated; we have prostrated ourselves before the throne, and have implored its interposition to arrest the tyrannical hands of the ministry and Parliament. Our petitions have been slighted; our remonstrances have produced additional violence and insult; our supplications have been disregarded; and we have been spurned, with contempt, from the foot of the throne! In vain, after these things, may we indulge the fond hope of peace and reconciliation. There is no longer any room for hope. If we wish to be free — if we mean to preserve inviolate those inestimable privileges for which we have been so long contending — if we mean not basely to abandon the noble struggle in which we have been so long engaged, and which we have pledged ourselves never to abandon until the glorious object of our contest shall be obtained — we must fight! I repeat it, sir, we must fight! An appeal to arms and to the God of hosts is all that is left us!

They tell us, sir, that we are weak; unable to cope with so formidable an adversary. But when shall we be stronger? Will it be the next week, or the next year? Will it be when we are totally disarmed, and when a British guard shall be stationed in every house? Shall we gather strength by irresolution and inaction? Shall we acquire the means of effectual resistance by lying supinely on our backs and hugging the delusive phantom of hope, until our enemies shall have bound us hand and foot? Sir, we are not weak if we make a proper use of those means which the God of nature hath placed in our power. The millions of people, armed in the holy cause of liberty, and in such a country as that which we possess, are invincible by any force which our enemy can send against us. Besides, sir, we shall not fight our battles alone. There is a just God who presides over the destinies of nations, and who will raise up friends to fight our battles for us. The battle, sir, is not to the strong alone; it is to the vigilant, the active, the brave. Besides, sir, we have no election. If we were base enough to desire it, it is now too late to retire from the contest. There is no retreat but in submission and slavery! Our chains are forged! Their clanking may be heard on the plains of Boston! The war is inevitable — and let it come! I repeat it, sir, let it come.

It is in vain, sir, to extenuate the matter. Gentlemen may cry, Peace, Peace — but there is no peace. The war is actually begun! The next gale that sweeps from the north will bring to our ears the clash of resounding arms! Our brethren are already in the field! Why stand we here idle? What is it that gentlemen wish? What would they have? 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!


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  • Don't blame GOD,GOD gave us freewill to make our own choices and a mind to know right from wrong, if this country is failing it is our fault, we know what must be done. So don't blame GOD for our sins, we allowed this to happen not GOD.
  • I agree with Roger....we MUST turn back to God in all ways...evil is so rampant in the world and esp on our home shores.....this evil on purpose imposes regulations that are ALL listed as greivances in the Declaration of Independence...and what do our States do???  Pass dam laws dumbing down our citzenry more  ie majiuana, common core....I see Sodom and Gomarrah when I look at the USA today....I am so thankful for the Tea Party..but it is time for us all to become Patrick Henry's...and honor our Founders and God.

  • We must fight even to get our American birthright back, as free, sovereign, individuals, before we are all turned into mere subjects in an incorporated federal government.

    ex animo


  • Nothing I can follow that with except, bless you Patrick Henry, we need just a few of you now. SEMPER FI

  • Nothing is going to change in the United States until every Christian turns back to God.

    It is us, we Christians who are responsible for what has become of our nation because it is we who have surrendered our values and beliefs in God by electing corrupt, immoral and unethical people to be our leaders.

    Until we Christians return to the teachings of Christ and make a stand by electing moral and ethical people for our leaders, God will withhold His blessings from us.  God does not push His way into our lives.  We must invite Him in, and once we have confessed a belief in Jesus Christ, it is our DUTY to live by His teachings. 

    God will allow to happen what we have asked for, and by turning our backs on Him and eliminating Him from our lives (Democrats voting to remove God from their platform) we cannot expect our conditions to change in these United States.

  • May The United States Bless God once again - - -

    May We all pray - -

    One Nation Under God - -

    With Liberty & Justice

    For ALL - -

  • I see the day coming when sites like this will be shut down by the current government due to its "subversive" tone. The to procure and secure OTHER means of communication is NOW!. While I personally lack such knowledge, it is something we all need to consider. I'm surprised that some of our writings have not gotten any of us arrested for so-called HATE speech. Be alert-I see the day coming!

  • These are very powerful words, and describe our current situation. I am all but resigned to the fact that our plight will not be resolved by electing constitutional conservatives. It will take generations to get us back to the constitution and the internal and external communists and muslims will keep attacking us and our system.  We are in such turmoil we will need a revolution to reverse the trend.  I stand with Patrick Henry, Liberty or Death, Molon Labe.

  • WE must know our history. Our FOUNDERS studied the history of many nations, their rise and fall, and figured out that if you do not know your own history, you're bound to repeat the mistakes of those before you. That's how the CONSTITUTION came to be, by observing the different types of governments, they (The founders of this great country.) brainstormed, and came up with an almost perfect document. Check that! a perfect document for a moral and ethical people!


  • The regime of organized atheism ruled in Eastern Europe for more than 40 years, using oppressive bureaucracies and armed forces to impose its rule. In the United States of America, the many factions of organized atheism are abusing the rule of law to chip away at the religious freedoms we have traditionally enjoyed. This process of ‘death by a thousand cuts’ is sanctioned, even encouraged, by a regime that is imposing the rule of Big Government on our country through the use of oppressive bureaucracies under wealthy czars. So far, this process does not include the use of armed forces. Let's keep it that way by voting in November for candidates who will remove regulations from our private lives.

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