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Dates That Matter

March 23, 1775

Patrick Henry declares "Give me liberty or give me death!" in a speech.

 Why does it matter?

Patrick Henry, a delegate to the Virginia House of Burgesses, spoke eloquently against British taxation in the colonies. A lawyer, he was outspoken and radical, in contrast with some of the more restrained and careful of the "founding fathers." His most famous speech, made before the Virginia House of Burgesses in St. John's Church, Richmond, ended with the words, "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!" These words became one of the lasting slogans of the American Revolution. After the war, he was elected Governor of Virginia three times. President Washington offered him the position of Secretary of State, but he declined. Henry died in 1799 at the age of 63.

For more information...

Patrick Henry Biography Brief
As advertised, a brief biography of Patrick Henry.

The University of Oklahoma College of Law
The transcript of Patrick Henry's speech.

Patrick Henry
From Colonial Williamsburg, there is a link to an audio file of a recreation of Henry's speech.