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!”
attribute
Verb

to think to be caused by.

encourage
Verb

to inspire or support a person or idea.

forbid
Verb

to disallow or prohibit.

legislator
Noun

person who is part of an organization that makes laws.

liberty
Noun

freedom.

notable
Adjective

important or impressive.

precise
Adjective

exact.

purchase
Verb

to buy.

revolution
Noun

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.

slavery
Noun

process and condition of owning another human being or being owned by another human being.

troop
Noun

a soldier.

urge
Verb

to strongly encourage.

utter
Verb

to say.

wealthy
Adjective

very rich.