Give Me Liberty or Give Me Death!
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by Patrick Henry

There 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.

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.

Let us not deceive ourselves longer. I repeat it, sir, we must fight. An appeal to arms and to the God of Hosts is all that is left to 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 next week or the next year? 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 idle here?

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!


This page was last updated 07/02/00 01:51 PM