- It still applies
Lately, we’ve been hearing discussions about what the founding fathers “wanted” or “believed in.” Usually, these phrases are used as propaganda to promote some political or business agenda. However, I tend to believe that what they promoted, wrote about and saw as the proper direction of our country is what we, as Americans, feel is true and just. No one is perfect and our founding fathers and other American stalwarts of that time are no exception. That said, I believe that instead of putting words in their mouths, that we actually analyze the words they spoke and wrote. I recently came across the original “give me liberty or give me death” speech, given by Patrick Henry.
I’m re-writing the last third of the speech here, in order to show some eerie similiarities to what is going on in our country today. My two cents say that the founding fathers (and other pertainent individuals of that time) would be disgusted by what they see today. Take a look at the last portion of Mr. Henry’s speech and see what you think:
(Patrick Henry is addressing the Virginia Convention. This speech was given on March 23, 1775, at St. John’s Church in Richmond, Virginia
, and is credited with having swung the balance in convincing the Virginia House of Burgesses
to pass a resolution delivering the Virginia
troops to the Revolutionary War
. Among the delegates to the convention were future US Presidents Thomas Jefferson
and George Washington
. Reportedly, those in attendance, upon hearing the speech, shouted, “give me liberty or give me death!”)
, we have done everything that could be done to avert the storm which is now coming on. We have petitioned; we have demonstrated; we have supplicated; we have prostrated ourselves before the throne, and have implored its interposition to arrest the tyrannical hands of the ministry and Parliament.
Our petitions have been slighted; our remonstrances have produced additional violence 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 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 the 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. Besides, 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 it, sir, let it come!
It is in vain, sir, to extenuate the matter. Gentleman 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 is 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!”