On March 23, 1775, Patrick Henry urged fellow Virginians to support the Revolutionary War, saying “give me liberty or give me death!”Actually, it is unlikely that Henry uttered those precise words. The phrase was first attributed to him in 1816, more than 40 years after the revolution. Regardless, Henry’s speech encouraged Virginia legislators to provide troops to the Revolutionary War effort, helping to create the Continental Army less than three months later. After the revolution, Henry became the first governor of the state of Virginia.Like many other leaders of the American Revolution—including fellow Virginians George Washington and Thomas Jefferson—Henry was a wealthy slaveowner, making the conclusion of his famous speech notable: “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!”
Term Part of Speech Definition Encyclopedic Entry attribute Verb
to think to be caused by.
to inspire or support a person or idea.
to disallow or prohibit.
person who is part of an organization that makes laws.
important or impressive.
overthrow or total change of government.
Revolutionary War Noun
(1775-1783) conflict between Great Britain and the colonies that became the United States. Also called the American War of Independence.
process and condition of owning another human being or being owned by another human being.
to strongly encourage.