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Patrick Henry
1736 - 1799

Lawyer, politician, author of the Stamp Act Resolutions which were the "first shot" fired in the American Revolutionary War


Click here for an essay by Patrick Henry
Can the annals of mankind exhibit one single example, where rulers overcharged with power, willingly let go the oppressed, though solicited and requested most earnestly? ... A willing relinquishment of power is one of those things which human nature never was, nor ever will be capable of.

Jun. 5, 1788 - from a speech to the Virginia Ratifying Convention
We are not weak if we make a proper use of those means which the God of Nature has placed in our power... The battle, sir, is not to the strong alone; it is to the vigilant, the active, the brave.

Mar. 23, 1775 - from a speech to the Virginia Convention in Richmond
Bad men cannot make good citizens. It is when a people forget God that tyrants forge their chains. A vitiated state of morals, a corrupted public conscience, is incompatible with freedom. No free government, or the blessings of liberty, can be preserved to any people but by a firm adherence to justice, moderation, temperance, frugality, and virtue; and by a frequent recurrence to fundamental principles.

Guard with jealous attention the public liberty. Suspect everyone who approaches that jewel. Unfortunately, nothing will preserve it but downright force. Whenever you give up that force, you are inevitably ruined.

Jun. 5, 1788 - from a speech to the Virginia Ratifying Convention
The liberties of the people never were, or never will be, secure when the transactions of their rulers may be concealed from them.

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!

Mar. 23, 1775 - from a speech to the Virginia Convention in Richmond
When we are planning for posterity, we ought to remember that virtue is not hereditary.

1775 - from The Liberty Tree