Patrick Henry

Patrick Henry

Senator Ted Cruz announced his 2016 candidacy for President of the United States on the 240th anniversary of Patrick Henry’s famous “Liberty or Death” speech. Coincidence?


by Patrick Henry, March 23, 1775

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 the 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!


One response

  1. “Liberty or Death”?

    Where does “liberty” exist?

    In this banana republic where the government just took over the last bastion of free speech, the internet?

    In a nation that wishes to take away the right NOT to be vaccinated with vaccines that contain poisonous mercury adjuvants?

    “Liberty” in this open air plantation where you turn over a high percentage of your yearly earnings to keep up your lazy neighbors who don’t want to work…they need “free” health insurance, “free” prescriptions, “free” rent subsidies, “free” food, “free” cell phones, “free” utility assistance, “free” transportation, etc., etc., ad nauseum. And if you dare to “hold out” on your “voluntary contributions”, they send machine-gun-toting jackboots to beat or bleed your “fair share” of alms to the crown.

    In a country where the highest elected office in the land is occupied by an illegal alien who has spent over a million dollars to hide his checkered past? Who reportedly has used at least 16 different social security numbers and the one he uses as POTUS was originally issued to a citizen of Connecticut, a state where our Kenyan President has never lived in his entire life? Whose alleged birth certificate has been found by document experts to be fraudulent in all 20 areas in which the authenticity of documents is confirmed? And where this same illegal alien can have you “terminated with extreme prejudice” with simply his signature and no due process rights whatsoever?

    “Liberty” in a country where federal jackboots read your personal e-mails, listen to your cell phone conversations, track your every purchase, can search your castle with a handwritten search warrant not signed by a judge, and can rendition you to a domestic hellhole or a foreign country to be tortured as long as “they” please? No right to an attorney, no right to a hearing, no trial, no judge, no phone call?

    In the 4th Reich’s version of “The Twilight Zone” where the NSA whistleblower, Edward Snowden, a true American hero, who exposed these fascists’ penchant for blatantly violating the once hallowed constitutional rights of The People is now in political exile in a former communist country (the irony just drips, does it not?) in fear for his life after being branded a traitor by the same power-hungry psychopaths who grind us under their collective thumbs?

    “Liberty” in a 3rd world dictatorship where otherwise unemployable dredges of society get to fondle you and your family’s “bad-man-no-touchy” areas…or oogle at same with their porno scanners before they ALLOW you to travel from point A to point B on a plane? Or if you choose to drive or travel by bus or train, you might get the same sexual molestation treatment from the TSA’s mobile “Viper Teams” that take their perverted act to your nearest highway, byway, train, and/or bus stations?

    We could go on and on and on. What “liberty”?!? You are “free”…to shut your mouth and do as you are told…when you are told to do it…and how you are told to do it. You are then expected to cheerfully say, “Thank you sir! May I have another?”

    And anyone who thinks that Teddy Cruz, born in Canada, and as unconstitutionally-qualified as the Manchurian-candidate-Kenyan, Barry Soetoro, is gonna change any of the above?!? (check the definition of “natural born citizen”) Really? “They” killed JFK in Dallas in ’63 for less than trying to dismantle the new and improved USSA Police State.

    But keep thinking that pulling the lever for Canadian Teddy is gonna give you “liberty”.

    Looks like it’s “death”…death for the once-Republic.

    So who do y’all think is gonna be in the 2016 Super Bowl?

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