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Give Me Liberty or Give Me Death – Updated for Modern America

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Give Me Liberty or Give Me Death – Updated for Modern America

Original Version – Patrick Henry, March 23, 1775.
Updated Version – Ryan Dube, May 23, 2011 – 236 years later.

Editor’s Note – If Patrick Henry were alive today – is the following address the one that he would deliver? Let us know what you think in the comments section below.

No man thinks more highly than I do of the patriotism, as well as abilities, of the very worthy ladies and gentlemen citizens of this great country.

But different men often see the same subject in different lights; and, therefore, I hope it will not be thought disrespectful to those ladies and 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 questing before the Nation 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 or of arrest, I should consider myself as guilty of treason towards my country, and of an act of disloyalty toward 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 that 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 Federal Government for the last ten years to justify those hopes with which ladies and gentlemen of this country have been pleased to solace themselves and the Nation.

Is it that insidious smile with which our petitions have 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 petitions comports with those backdoor concessions to corporate greed and corruption, which harm the financial and physical health of American families and darken our land.

Are corporate handouts and political favors necessary to a work of national recovery and to the health and welfare of our people? Have we shown ourselves so unwilling to be reconciled that further financial stress must be inflicted upon us to force our love and devotion in exchange for salvation?

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 recent offense to our liberties – wire-tapping, pat-down searches, and surveillance, if its purpose be not to force us to submission?

Can gentlemen assign any other possible motive for it? Has the Federal Government any enemy, in this quarter of the world, to call for all this domestic accumulation of forces?

No, sir, she has none. They are meant for us: they can be meant for no other. They are instituted to bind and rivet upon us those chains which the Federal Government has 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 upon 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. 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 voted entirely new parties into power, and have implored its interposition to arrest the tyrannical hands of the corporations and corrupt government officials.

Our petitions have been slighted; our remonstrances have produced additional financial hardship 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 Federal 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 those means which the God of nature hath placed in our power. The 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.

The battle, sir, is not to the strong alone; it is to the vigilant, the active, the brave. Besides, sir, we have elections, but no good options to choose from. We have food to eat, but can only afford McDonald’s and Burger King. We have clothes to wear, but they are all made in China. Only the wealthy can afford health care. The poorer pay higher credit card interest rates. The workers receive lower wages, as CEOs receive stock options.

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 Arab Spring, 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!

Originally published on TopSecretWriters.com

  • Steelydan71

    Very well put.  There are no other solutuions.  I fear that very few will come to this conclusion before it’s too late.  The few who do, will be dealt with swiftly and permanently.

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