"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, 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. ... 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. Let us not, I beseech you, sir, deceive ourselves. ... 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!"
by:
Patrick Henry
(1736-1799) US Founding Father
Source:
"The War Inevitable" speech to the Virginia Convention, March 23, 1775
http://www.law.ou.edu/hist/henry.html
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Reader comments about this quote:
Still an inspiring statement to read. Great power and conviction. Very appealing in an age preoccupied with self centered pleasure seeking.
 -- Richard Molinski, Ocala Florida     
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    A classic!
     -- E Archer, NYC     
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    Why would God choose a nation over the protection of children, over the millions that starve to death, over the millions that die at the hands of despots, over the genocide that we perpetrated and later denounce as evil – such a choice is unimaginable? I leave God out of this speech and give it four.
     -- Robert, Sarasota     
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    Superb quote in total! Robert you may choose to leave God out of your life, but you don't get to leave God out of someone's quote. What incredible gall! Despite the revisionist's attempts to say otherwise, God was a major factor in the lives of the Founders and the foundation of this country. Even Alexis de Tocqueville recognized it was our churches and faith that made the difference in this country. But the gall of your desire to change the quote pales next to your idea that can critique the choices of God, particularly when it would seem obvious that you have no belief or faith in God. Leave God out of you life if you so choose but do not try to remove God from the lives of others, or from the role in he played/s in our country. You have my sympathy.
     -- helorat, Milton     
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    The more the teachings and morality of the Christ are demented, and/or removed from society, greater are the tyrannical chains of despotism's grasp on the deaf and dumb individual. The principles and laws are the same, whether or not you attribute them to God. He who forgets history is doomed to relive it. As for me, this quote defines my mind and heart.
     -- Mike, Norwalk     
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    Unfortunately it's your contempt for the values that Christ preached that is the cause for hypocrisy on the highest of levels. How dare you preach the word of God and say our country was founded on his teachings when those same people were responsible (I'm presuming like you did of me that you are a Christian) for killing thousands of Indians (genocide is what it was) - yes you may feel comfortable in your living room but the sword you swing without knowledge is the brave heart's remorse. If Christ came back again I'm sure he would suffer the same fate under the religious fundamentalists. Lastly, it is you that have the gall to expect a quote to go unchallenged - again hypocrisy rears its head on the tails of home-grown ethics and morality - let God be in your heart not in your scorn. By the way you were wrong.
     -- Robert, Sarasota     
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    It is reasoning such as this that allows and encourages theocratic states under Catholicism, Islam, Mormonism, and, perhaps soon, protestant Christianity. The success of the U.S. has been due to its separation of church and state. The founders realized the danger of the church and completely left God and religion out of the Constitution. All the protesting and rationalizing in the world cannot change the intent of the founders. If we don't learn that the greatest ethic of humankind is treating one another with tolerance and compassion, all the worship of gods and religions will avail us nothing but continued war and killing.
     -- Dick, Fort Worth     
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    Well said Robert!
     -- Anonymous, Reston, VA US     
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    There is no "separation of church and state" in the Constitution. And there is no right to prevent the "free exercise" of religion, which is in the Constitution, by those who are employed by the government or elected by the people. People are human and fallible, that does not prevent them from striving for high ideals. Striving for high ideals and falling short is no hypocrisy, and it is disingenuous to even imply such. If you cannot discern the differences in the preachings, philosophy and practice of Christianity and Islam on your own no amount of logical argument ever will. Tolerance of evil is no virtue, it is suicidal. Whether you choose to accept it or not radical Islam intends to kill or convert us all, regardless of your tolerance. Where is your separation of church and state when it comes to use of public funds for foot washing stations for Muslims. Too dangerous for you to protest? Only willing to pick on the peaceful Christians?
     -- helorat, Milton     
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    I stumbled on this by accident and just had to weigh in. Touche, Robert. (I hope the French didn't offend anyone) The irony of the references in the quote to having eyes but not seeing etc.. is amusing. Most people see what they want to see and would never suffer the "anguish of spirit" that often occupanies truth. Western society throughout the centuries has often been referred to as Christendom. The British and German troops who celebrated the birth of the baby Jesus together in 1914, were obviously Christian. Hmmm, then why were these brethren back slaughtering eachother a few days later? Is that what their Lord commanded? Why do they call him Lord, Lord and do not the things he says? Let's just keep things in their proper categories. The constitution is a man made document based much more on Aristotle and British philosophers than on the Bible. In fact, a lot of the beliefs that now make up Christian doctrine have more roots in Plato, than the Jewish apostles teachings. The founding fathers were Christian, but so was everyone else in Europe and North America (well, except the native Americans) So were those Germans and Brits in 1914, by name. They just felt more obliged to obey earthly kings and parliments. The Messiah left commandments among which are preaching the gospel and to wait for his return. When did he command to establish a nation based on his teachings and take up arms to do so? Really. Was it his idea? Hey, I'm not anti-Amercan. Nice place to raise your kids, better than a lot of other places. But then, being a Roman citizen in the first century had it's perks. It's a lot easier to be a disciple of Christ here than in a lot of other places, but the scriptures don't give any indication it's supposed to be easy. It just says do it regardless of the personal cost now, and in due time you'll reap. When he re-establishes the only earthly govenrment that God ever identified himself with. Sorry, really don't see representative government and capitalism described in the Bible. Anyone one who does, may have eyes, but does he see? Oh, as far as tolerating evil, don't see much being done by the first century believers to deal with one Paul of Tarsus. "Vengeance is mine, I will repay saith the Lord". Maybe it's a good thing a few of the disciples didn't find out where he lived, sneak in one night to take matters into their own hands. Robert, one thing I beg to differ. When, not if, Christ comes back, he will not suffer the same fate. Probably the religious fundamentalists turn to do the suffering. It will certainly be a rude awakening for many.
     -- Tom, Scranton     
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    wow...just wow! you know? its like a political slap to the face that just wakes you up in the mourning.
     -- owen, cleveland     
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    I'm with Robert and Dick... Plus the fact he goes on about truth and yet does not search for it regarding his faith - total hypocrite. THERE IS NO GOD - DO YOUR RESEARCH....
     -- Robert, St. Emilion, France     
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    We have an advocate that sits at the Right hand of God ! LOGIZOMAI, Reckon. Our founding fathers presented themselves a living sacrifice to God ! The innocent blood, from Abel to Christ cries out from the bowels of the earth ! Justified in a " holy cause " . One must believe, God is, first, and a rewarder of those that diligently seek him. It is not for the faint hearted to receive truth. All those truly in Christ shall suffer persecution, that is a token of our faith. God does raise up allies for his holy cause of Freedom. The power is in the blood. This blood shed upon the alter of Liberty, that is our Liberty Tree. We are belittled, spat upon, down trodden, looked upon as the scum of the earth. They hated Christ first, so it is no mystery the world hates us also. Most only want liberty to fulfill the desire and lust of the flesh and carnal mind. They are Keciyl foolish people, insolvent in their superficial lip service, to a God they put no belief or trust in ! Give me Liberty or give me death, I am a living sacrifice to Almighty God, and am presented as so. Through moderation, conviction, determination, to hold the High ground of conscience before man, and God. Christ returns with a Mighty army, taking vengeance. Not much time left now, to repent. Then the page is turned. There is a falling away, and a gathering together, a unity of faith, and a unity of knowledge, to complete the fullness thereof. And I do refer to a space in time ! Like a watch has a paul, it holds back till the time is full. Then it releases and the spring tightens again ! Are people ready ? Are you ready ? Most say no, even among the learned, fear and doubt, chains of slavery blinding the minds of them which believe not ! Liberty or Death the choice is always there for the taking. Half hearted, are only sunshine patriots, they don't make it and usually die in the battle or run away ! A living sacrifice is required in life. If we suffer with Liberty we will reign with Liberty !
     -- Ronw13, Yachats Or     
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    When a species makes a drastic change, it is called an indicator, the natural law of cause and effect observed. Let all believers beware, the warning goes out.
     -- Ronw13, Yachats Or     
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    Seems that we have strayed off into theology . As to Christ's return, He's sure taking His time about it. Our fundamentalist preacher told me ,in 1948,that His return was imminent and I'm still waiting. I don't expect Jesus to return and swoop down and make things right. I suspect that we all need to do it ourselves.
     -- jim k, Austin     
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    This is a great quote.
     -- jim k, Austin     
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    Jim it does not work that way, most look for the " return " . that is not the hope of the body, which is a mystery. If you know it, you know the word to apply . There was no return at the time of our founding fathers for the influence of God to take effect. Who would have thought star people ? or those effected by the stars. Everything in due season. Some men and women are fully persuaded, for strength of mind and body. to Endure ! The Lord comes like a thief in the night. And watches like a leopard from the side of the road. God says he appears to every man twice, but they know it not.
     -- Ronw13, Yachats Or     
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     -- dickstlawrence, framingham mass      
    Such a great, touching and wondrous statement by the very brave lover of liberty Patrick Henry.
    Thank you helorat, Milton for your excellent counter statement to the very cynical and crepe hanging remarks of Robert, Sarasota.
    There always sadly seems to be a rotten apple who attempts to spoil the well spoken and expressed quotes displayed on Liberty Quotes.
    Let's all who honor and respect the brave souls who have gone before us and thank the heavens that these cynics and persistent pessimists who live in such dark shadows are hopefully not and never will be in close proximity to us all.
     -- Mary - MI     
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