Monday, March 23, 2009

Speech: "Give Me Liberty or Give Me Death"

Today, March 23, is the 234th anniversary of Patrick Henry's famous "Give Me Liberty or Give Me Death speech". I've been to Colonial Williamsburg recently, where I listened to an actor's rendition of that awe-inspiring speech. Even after 234 years, it is easy to hear the power in Henry's words and imagine the ripples it would have caused throughout the colonies, colonies that even then were in the struggle to decide whether they would or should declare independence from Great Britain. (In fact, only weeks later, the fighting of the American Revolution would begin, further north, in Massachusetts.)

The speech ends with the powerful words: "...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!"

The rest of his powerful speech can be found many places on the web, including on the Colonial Williamsburg website:

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