Tuesday, December 9, 2008
Patrick Henry's "Give Me Liberty or Give Me Death!" Speech
In an effort to expand our history collection of memorable people, places and events at the Adam Smith Academy, we have added Patrick Henry's famous, "Give Me Liberty or Give Me Death!" speech in our AudioText format.
One interesting note regarding the speech that I read in "Thomas Jefferson: A Life," was that the author of the Declaration of Independence, Thomas Jefferson, was in attendance during the speech. And, while I am paraphrasing from memory (I don't have the book handy to confirm, since I checked it out from the library several years ago), it was during this speech that Thomas Jefferson knew he had to had to join the cause. While there were certainly rumblings among the citizens, he couldn't believe that Patrick Henry would dare give such a speech in such a place -- treason during this period found much quicker justice. He also knew that this man, considered a Lion in his day, was speaking a principled truth that would ultimately lead Jefferson to lend his life and property to the cause -- against the greatest armed forces known to man at the time, the British Army and Navy. This was no small thing. It was David vs. Goliath, with David being without his sling.
Remember, this speech was not in front of fellow rebels at some secret tavern meeting. But, it was addressing the Virginia House of BURGESSES, in Richmond, VA in March, 1775. The House of Burgesses was an assembly of the Crown. It was akin to actually addressing the British Crown. That's really speaking truth to power. And, let it be known, that there were several calls of treason, and for Patrick Henry's head, during the speech... but he kept going. Talk about the courage of one's convictions.