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Thread: Give Me Liberty Or Give Me Death--by Patrick Henry

  1. #1
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    Default Give Me Liberty Or Give Me Death--by Patrick Henry

    PATRICK HENRY'S SPEECH TO THE VIRGINIA HOUSE OF BURGESSES
    __________________________________________________ _______
    No man 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 that 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 towards 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 these 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 motives 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 on 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 longer.

    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 the means which the God of nature hath placed in our power. Three 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!

    Patrick Henry - March 23, 1775
    When the people fear their government, there is tyranny; when the government fears the people, there is liberty. --Thomas Jefferson
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  2. #2
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  3. #3
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    Default I have one of Paines OLD books!!

    I have his Theological Works - one of the ORIGINAL bks dated 1819 !! It's in a New bound
    cover and i've been told it's not worth much due to that, but i think the inside is just
    priceless! It's the old original dates, different works NOT bound in chronological order. The
    first page is dated 1826. Someone wrote in fountain pen on the top pg "1793". They also
    wrote many comments in pensil thro out the book. I see that the paper has held up very
    well thru the years. The first work is titled "The Age of Reason" Part the First, being an
    Investigation of True and Fabulous Theology, London, 1826.....A person from that era
    wrote something in fountain pen on the very first page of the bk....I can read most of it,
    but not all. This is what the person wrote....."Though I have some doubt as to the wisdom
    of preserving this intolerable compound of vulgarity, ignorance and impudence (because of
    it's awful blasphemy) yet having found it useful to know what the poor creature acturally
    wrote in......(?) some who have publickly commended (?) him to the earth of America, I
    decide to let it remain in the charge of my (?) lessors -- WHO MAY BURN IT IF THEY
    CHOOSE...(underlined) ....it must not go into other hands." It was signed "ACC". I had
    forgotton to mention that i got this book about 40 yrs ago when i was 19. It was at a
    Library book sale....it was marked as DISCARD!!! And this is what I wrote on a card stuck
    into the book......(i may write IN the bk and date it).....Do not destroy or throw away
    this book! It is very old and worth keeping for those to read in the future. Take care of
    this book." I sure wish i had the original cover.....oops, i think this belongs in the
    religion area......maybe it can be moved over there...........Sorry!
    Only after every tree has been cut down...only
    after every river has been poisoned....only after
    every fish has been eaten.....only then will man
    realize that money cannot be eaten.
    -Cree Indian saying

  4. #4
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    I'd rather die on my feet than live on my knees. *Sigh* If only we had more politicians like him nowadays.
    "Cats are so vile the Bible does not so much as mention them."

    --Natty Threads



    "I have come to the conclusion that people are strange."

    --Firedance




  5. #5
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    Sadly, we've gone in this country from 'Give Me Liberty Or Give Me Death' to 'Give Me Freebies Or I Won't Vote For You'.


    .
    We the people are the rightful masters of both Congress and the courts, not to overthrow the Constitution but to overthrow the men who pervert the Constitution.
    ~ Abraham Lincoln ~

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by Melodious Musician View Post
    I'd rather die on my feet than live on my knees. *Sigh* If only we had more politicians like him nowadays.
    Me, too. But, I fear, that in doing so, I shall die alone.

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by MrAmerica View Post
    Sadly, we've gone in this country from 'Give Me Liberty Or Give Me Death' to 'Give Me Freebies Or I Won't Vote For You'.
    .
    Unforunately, MrA, you have pinpointed the major problem in the present U.S.A. Freebie handouts equal votes! My husband and I have been watching old war movies, on TCM, this weekend. At one point, I found myself crying for my country. The respect and admiration that she once enjoyed, around the world, is gone. Her greatness has been diminished and her reputation horribly damaged through the actions of those who support a socialist agenda. My heart breaks!!!

    I'm a Conservative Christian-American with dual citizenship...the Kingdom of God is my 1st home and the U.S.A. is my 2nd.

    "They who would give up essential liberties to obtain a little temporary safety, deserve neither liberty nor safety." -- Benjamin Franklin

    God closes doors that no man can open and opens doors that no man can close.

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by Patriot Wife & Mom View Post
    Unforunately, MrA, you have pinpointed the major problem in the present U.S.A. Freebie handouts equal votes! My husband and I have been watching old war movies, on TCM, this weekend. At one point, I found myself crying for my country. The respect and admiration that she once enjoyed, around the world, is gone. Her greatness has been diminished and her reputation horribly damaged through the actions of those who support a socialist agenda. My heart breaks!!!
    And you, having put the above into words so clearly and succinctly, those words, should cause every real American to have a broken heart and weep for the greatness and freedom we have all lost!!!

    Putting it mildly, the pain and anguish is, over time, crushing the life out of me

  9. #9
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    Will you die in the fight for liberty, fallen in your own blood or will you die in your Obamacare bed, soaked in your own piss?

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by Seditious View Post
    Will you die in the fight for liberty, fallen in your own blood or will you die in your Obamacare bed, soaked in your own piss?
    Seeing as I haven't been to a doctor since getting my marriage license 40 + years ago, I don't think an Omamacare bed is in my future. Oh, and I haven't pissed in my bed (or my pants) since I was about 3 years old.

    I will either die in God's good time or, I will die defending my family, property and freedom to choose my own destiny.

    The older I become, it becomes clearer that... every day may well be a good day to die.

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