The following is an excerpt from Patrick Henry‘s infamous “Give Me Liberty or Give Me Death” speech made at the Second Virginia Convention held in St. John’s Church on March 20th of 1775 (approximately a month before Battles of Lexington & Concord). He was attempting to encourage the Virginia House of Burgesses to pass a resolution allowing for the volunteer militia units to be raised throughout the colony. As a side note, Patrick Henry was initially a badass post-Revolution for being an Anti-Federalist, but unfortunately succumbed to the Federalist behavior of Presidents Washington & Adams because of his fear that the Republic might eventually devolve into a French Revolution.
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 British 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.
Three 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. Beside, Sir, we shall not fight our
battles alone.There is a just God who presides over the destinies of
Nations, and who will raise up friends to fight our battles for us. The
battle, Sir, is not to the strong alone. It is to the vigilant, the
active, the brave. Besides, Sir, we have no election. 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, 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 North 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!