“Give me liberty, or give me death!” is a quotation attributed to Patrick Henry from a speech he made to the Second Virginia Convention on March 23, 1775, at St. John’s Church in Richmond, Virginia.
Henry is credited with having swung the balance in convincing the convention to pass a resolution delivering Virginian troops for the Revolutionary War. Among the delegates to the convention were future U.S. Presidents Thomas Jefferson and George Washington.
The speech was not published until The Port Folio printed a version of it in 1816.
The version of the speech that is known today first appeared in print in Sketches of the Life and Character of Patrick Henry, a biography of Henry by William Wirt in 1817.
There is debate among historians as to whether and to what extent Henry or Wirt should be credited with authorship of the speech and its famous closing words.
Patrick Henry (May 29, 1736 – June 6, 1799) was an American attorney, planter, and orator best known for his declaration to the Second Virginia Convention (1775): “Give me liberty, or give me death!”
A Founding Father, he served as the first and sixth post-colonial Governor of Virginia, from 1776 to 1779 and from 1784 to 1786.
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