Patrick Henry

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Patrick Henry (1736–1799) , or P. Henry as he often signed in his letters,[2] was one of the most troublesome Founding Fathers of the United States of America. A down-to-earth orator and lawyer, Patrick Henry opposed powerful central governments, to the point where some consider him a proto-libertarian,[3] and was the one of the main leaders of the Anti-Federalists, a group who stood against the Federalists during the debates surrounding the adopting the United States Constitution. He felt conflicted about the issue of slavery, and because of his religiousness and opinions on freedom of religion, the Religious Right have co-opted him to support their views.

Don't mention the war[edit]

Patrick Henry was born on on May 29, 1736 at Studley plantation, northwest of Richmond, Virginia.[4] His dad was a planter from Scotland, while his mom was a widow from a well-known gentry family. During Henry's youth, his mother would often take him to sermons given by the Presbyterian minister Samuel Davies,Wikipedia who is often credited as a major source of his great oratorical skills.[5] Henry attended a local school until age 10, and from then on, he was homeschooled by his dad, a graduate of King's College, Aberdeen,Wikipedia in theology and classics,[4] the study of classical antiquity.

The Parsons' Cause[edit]

P. Henry bringing down the thunder during his Parsons' Cause speech. That guy on the bench with a handkerchief? That's his dad, crying tears of joy.[6]:306

After two unsuccessful attempts at running a store and a failed stint as a planter, Patrick Henry decided to become a lawyer and began teaching himself law while tending his father-in-law's tavern, which happened to be across the road from the county courthouse. In 1760, he managed to convince the Virginia legal board to grant him a license, trading his in-law's tavern bar for the courthouse bar.[7] Henry got his big break during the Parsons' Cause, a legal controversy surrounding salaries of the clergymen of Virginia's state church.

In colonial Virginia, the Anglican Church was sponsored by the state, and as they were considered public officials, the government paid the clergymen of the church salaries of tobacco, which historically sat at two cents per pound. In the late 1750s, severe droughts and crop failures pushed the price of tobacco from two cents per pound to six, prompting the Virginian legislature to pass the Two-Cents Act, freezing the clergy's tobacco pay at two cents per pound rather than six. At the urging of the clerics, the English government back home overturned the law and encouraged church officials to sue for back pay. One official named Rev. James Maury did just that; he managed to successfully file a suit against his local parish and was due to appear at a sentencing hearing to decide exactly how much he was to be given.[8]

Enter Patrick Henry. In December 1763, he represented the parish at the sentencing hearing and by all accounts succeeded with flying colors. By delivering a grand speech vehemently condemning the Crown, the clergy, and the British government[8] (and stacking the jury with small-time farmers),[9] he managed to convince the jury to give Maury a single penny in damages.[8][note 1]

Unlike some of his later speeches, there are some fairly good records on what exactly he said during the trial,[10] though they're not exactly perfect. One of these is a letter from Rev. Maury himself penned a few days after the hearing, where he calls Henry a "traitorous declaimer" and tells his letter's recipient, "You’ll observe I do not pretend to remember his words, but take this to have been the sum and substance". According to Mr. Maury, P. Henry had this to say about the power of the church and the Crown:[11]

The act of 1758 had every characteristic of a good law; that it was a law of general utility, and could not, consistently with what he called the original compact between King and people, stipulating protection on the one hand and obedience on the other be annulled...a King, by disallowing Acts of this salutary nature, from being the father of his people, degenerated into a Tyrant, and forfeits all right to his subjects’ obedience....the only use of an Established Church and Clergy in society, is to enforce obedience to civil sanctions, and the observance of those which are called duties of imperfect obligation; that, when a Clergy ceases to answer these ends, the community have no further need of their ministry, and may justly strip them of their appointments...

Another member of the audience, Captain Thomas Trevilian, recalled a section where P. Henry also lambasted the clergy for their naked greed:[12]

We have heard a great deal about the benevolence and holy zeal of our reverend clergy, but how is this manifested? Do they manifest their zeal in the cause of religion and humanity by practicing the mild and benevolent precepts of the Gospel of Jesus? Do they feed the hungry and clothe the naked? Oh, no, gentlemen! Instead of feeding the hungry and clothing the naked, these rapacious harpies would, were their powers equal to their will, snatch from the hearth of their honest parishioner his last hoe-cake, from the widow and her orphan child their last milch cow! The last bed, nay, the last blanket from the lying-in woman!

Give me liberty or give me death[edit]

In 1775, Great Britain began building up its military presence in the Thirteen Colonies, and while armed conflict had not yet started, Patrick Henry and many other colonists could see which way the wind was blowing. In an extralegal session of the Virginia Assembly, Patrick Henry advocated taking up arms and creating a militia, delivering what is perhaps the most famous speech of his career:

No man thinks more highly than I do of the patriotism, as well as abilities, of the very worthy gentlemen who have just addressed the House. But different men often see the same subject in different lights; and, therefore, I hope it will not be thought disrespectful to those 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 question before this House is one of awful moment to this country.


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 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!


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!


Except...Henry might not have actually said that. This rendition of his speech comes from William Wirt's biography Sketches of the Life and Character of Patrick Henry, published in 1817, more than three decades after P. Henry delivered it. Wirt had a lot of trouble researching the topic. No one had written down Henry's speech at the time it was delivered, and when Wirt tried asking a bunch of people who had attended the meeting where Henry made his speech, none of them could really recall his exact words. One man, Judge St. George Tucker, had tried to reconstruct the first two paragraphs, but as he admitted, he was working off of his personal recollections rather than any notes he might have recorded.[13]:145-150 So, Wirt had to reconstruct the entire speech somehow.

In the years since, historians have debated of the accuracy of the rendition. Ray Raphael, author of Founding Myths, believes that none of it was written by Henry; he points out that Wirt's version contradicts an contemporary account that claims Henry called the British cowards weakened by luxury and finds it strange that he would not have tried to appeal to his audiences' fears that the British were trying to incite Indian attacks and slave revolts, which was a common tactic at the time.[13]':150-156 Jennifer Llewellyn and Steve Thompson, writing for Alpha History, consider the speech plausible given Henry's sentiments but feel uncertain as to Henry's exact words and their impact. In the end, they urge the reader to try to look between the lines, noting that writers like Wirt were often trying to appeal to nationalist sensibilities rather deliver truthful accounts.[10] Even in Wirt's era, the rendition was contentious; for example, a transcript of a lecture held in 1855 on the 1776 Virginia Convention ambiguously remarks in a footnote, "Although it may well be doubted that much of the speech published by Wirt is apocryphal, some of its expressions and the outline of the argument are believed to be authentic."[14]:150

Stephen T. Olsen, whose analysis former director of the Patrick Henry National Memorial Jon Kukla called "the best discussion of the veracity...of Henry's most famous speech",[6]:458 believes the speech is from neither Wirt nor Henry but Judge St. George Tucker. Given that Wirt freely admits to being unable to find transcriptions of most of Henry's other speeches in other sections of the biography, Olsen finds it unlikely that Wirt pulled a PIDOOMA and argues that based on some letters between Wirt and Tucker and his own statistical analysis of Wirt, Tucker, and Henry's body of texts, it's most likely that Tucker is the author of the rendition.[15]:19-65

For their part, the Patrick Henry Memorial Foundation does at least admit, rather coyly, that there has been a lot of debate over Wirt's reconstruction.[16] In contrast, while the Library of Congress's Today in History series acknowledges that neither Henry himself nor his contemporaries wrote down his speech, it neglects to mention the debate around Wirt's reconstruction and indirectly calls it reliable.[17]

Impact on modern day politics[edit]

Henry has become a darling of the radical Tea Party movement, mostly due to his “give me liberty or give me death” speech. But to think that this was his political philosophy is really to misunderstand Henry. He said that in an environment where there was no electoral option and no representation in parliament. As he said in his final speech, when there is no electoral option and you’re faced with tyranny, you get revolution. But many people want to cut out the phrase, “when there is no electoral option.”
—John Ragosta, a historian at the Robert H. Smith Center for Jefferson Studies at Monticello[18]

Regardless of its historicity, the speech has endured, typically just pared down to the very last paragraph, the very last sentence, or simply just "give me liberty or give me death". It's not hard to see the appeal of those seven words; they make great use of anaphoraWikipedia (repetition of a word or phrase at the beginning of clauses) for rhetorical effect, they're short and memorable, and being willing to defend liberty at risk of life and limb is something a lot of people can get behind. For example, back in 2021, a protester in Hong Kong was convicted of inciting secession, and one of the pieces of evidence used to convict him were shirts printed with “Give me liberty or give me death.”[19] It's also showed up in pro-choice/pro-abortion activism[20] and anti-gun control propaganda.[21]

Naturally, the speech has been hijacked by cranks, woo-meisters, and all sorts of kooks. For example, a statement by the John Birch Society quotes a part about being "willing to know the whole truth" ...while also pushing conspiracy theories about Hillary Clinton's involvement in Uranium One and the Steele Dossier.[22] That part of the speech is also being quoted out of context; it's from a section that warns that an attack on the colonies is imminent and calls upon the Virginian legislators to prepare for war rather than delude themselves into thinking a peaceful solution is still possible, so knowing "the whole truth" is less about deflecting accusations or disproving falsehoods and more about keeping your head out of the sand. Besides that statement, the Citizen's Rule Book and Behold a Pale Horse also both quote parts of the speech.

The phrase also became a rallying cry for COVID-19 denialism in the United States, particularly among those against face masks or lockdown measures.[23][24] This is nonsense. The so-called liberty of not wearing a mask increases the risk of catching a deadly disease, so if disobeying sensible public health advice can truly be called liberty, then the signs should really say "Give me liberty and give me death!"

The state-church debate in Virginia[edit]

The Religious Right likes to harp on how Patrick Henry made a bill that would have allowed Virginians to set aside their taxes for certain state churches. This is true, but there's more to the story than just a man and his plan.

The last half of the 1700s was a period of significant religious strife between the Anglicans and Baptists and between Anglicans and Presbyterians. The Anglican Church was Virginia's state religion, meaning that it was funded by state taxes and that colonists were legally required to attend its services, and Virginia's laws discriminated against non-Anglicans. For example, there was an extra religious tax on dissenters (which was later repealed thanks to the efforts of James Madison and Thomas Jefferson).[25]

During the Revolutionary War, these tensions flared up into outright violence. Several ministers were jailed for disturbing the peace[25] or preaching without a license (Baptists typically refused to apply for a license on the basis that they didn't need another person's permission to preach their religion), and a few Baptist priests were even physically assaulted, sometimes by state officials, sometimes by vigilante men. One account describes a parson and a sheriff whipping a Baptist preacher in the mouth and attacking his hymn book, and there's another account where a gang of hooligans nearly drowned a Baptist preacher and his assistant,[26] almost as a mockery of the baptism ceremony.

It's amidst this religious tumult that Patrick Henry introduced his general religious assessment bill. Submitted in 1784, five years after the Virginia Assembly axed tax support for clergymen of the Church of England,[26] the bill proposed an annual religious tax that allowed taxpayers to earmark their money towards a church of their choice. (In absence of such a designation, the funds would go towards schools, but since most schools were run by clergymen, they'd be still supporting a church anyways.)[25] The idea was meant to be a sort of compromise; ideally, all denominations would benefit, and in a way, this essentially would have made every sect an established religion, instead of just one.

Ultimately, Henry's bill failed because of fundamental disagreements between different denominations and different politicians regarding separation of church and state. Anglicans and people like Richard Henry Lee supported the bill, because they felt Christianity was the best means for fostering civic virtue and wanted to promote the religion in any way possible. Meanwhile, Baptists believed government support inevitably corrupted religion, and people such as James Madison argued the bill violated the right to freedom of religion.[26] In the end, the bill was struck down, and the newly-formed state adopted the Virginia Statute for Religious Freedom, which paved the way for the First Amendment.[25]

After the war[edit]

This quote from America (The Book) is obviously not real, but it does accurately embody P. Henry's distaste for the Constitution.

When the Continental Congress summoned delegates to Philadelphia to revise the Articles of Confederation (who later decide to throw out the Articles entirely and create the Constitution of the United States), Patrick Henry decided not to attend, citing lack of funds.[7] He reportedly also proclaimed he "smelt a rat."[note 2] He felt that state governments were the best suited for protecting liberty and suspected, correctly, that James Madison was trying to create a powerful national government.[27]

When George Washington sent Henry a copy of the Constitution in 1787, Henry wrote back that he had some unspecified reservations but was nevertheless open to changing his mind: "I have to lament that cannot bring my Mind to accord with the proposed Constitution. The Concern I feel on this account is really greater than I am able to express. Perhaps mature Reflection may furnish me Reasons to change my present Sentiments into a conformity with the Opinions of those personages for whom I have the highest Reverence." [28]:79 That same month, Henry wrote to Thomas MadisonWikipedia (one of James Madison's cousins) that he could "never agree to the proposed plan without Amendments, tho' many are willing to Swallow it in its present Form." [28]:88

When the Virginia legislature was debating ratifying the Constitution in 1788, Henry stood firmly against the idea. He felt the Constitution gave the national government too much power and the state governments too little and described it as "extremely pernicious, impolitic, and dangerous."[29] For instance, he hated how the federal government had the power of direct taxation; in his eyes, if Virginia had enough problems keeping its own state tax collectors (whom he described as "unfeeling blood-suckers" who had "committed the most horrid and barbarous ravages on our people") in line, there was no telling what federal ones could do.[30]:215 Henry also didn't like how the government had a standing army or how Congress had the power to train and arm militias. He believed there was no point in a militia (which, by the way, he called the "best and last defence") if the government could take their guns away or outright refuse to arm them, and he recognized how difficult it would be to rebel against the government, since they would get to pick good sites for fortifications and have better discipline and more funds.[30]:207-208, 214 (The militia movement ought to take note.)

There are a lot of other things he didn't like about the Constitution. For one, he wasn't a fan of having a president, which to him sounded like another king. In fact, he argued it was even worse than a king; a king at least could at least have Magna Carta-like limits on his power, but the President, as the commander in chief, could use the military to crush the opposition and would be too drunk on power to accept an impeachment.[30]:217 He also repeatedly emphasized that the thresholds required to pass amendments were too high and could allow for a small minority to block much-needed changes.[30]:204-206,212-213 He also criticized the wording describing how representatives were doled out, fearing that Congress could exploit it to restrict every state to only one rep,[30]:202-203 and pointed out that since Congress controlled when and where elections took place, it could deny people the chance to vote by scheduling elections at inconvenient places.[30]:217-218

He even disagreed with the Constitution's use of "We, the People". This signaled to him that the new government was not a confederation; otherwise, it would have said "We, the States", since he believed that individual states were, as he put it, "the soul of a confederation." Instead, it sounded like a monarchy, which he defined as a social contract between a regent and their subjects, and he wasn't exactly keen on installing a monarch after spending several years trying to overthrow one.[29]

So, what sort of government did Patrick Henry actually want? Henry, like other anti-federalists, felt that government should be based on something like a local council or state legislature, with the idea being that if rulers actually knew who they were ruling over, they might be less inclined to screw them over. They also believed government should be ruled by Average Joes, because they believed these "middling sort" would be less inclined towards ambition and greed.[31]:xxvi-xxxi (Mobocracy perhaps not withstanding.) If you want a label, you could say Henry and the other anti-federalists were classical anarchists.

Apparently, he later changed his mind and joined the Federalist side after seeing the French Revolution.[9][7]

Religious views[edit]

Compared to Founding Fathers such as Benjamin Franklin and Thomas Jefferson, Patrick Henry had much more orthodox religious views. An active Episcopalian throughout his life, Henry grew up during the First Great Awakening and would later take up evangelism himself by distributing religious tracts during his time riding around as a lawyer. He read the Bible every day,[32]:141 and reportedly described The Good Book as "worth more than all the other books that were ever printed".[33]:278 He opposed deism: he funded the printing and distribution of two tracts attacking the philosophy[32]:141and blamed it for the excesses of the French Revolution.[7] In the main body of his last will, he bequeathed his family the gift of Christianity, proclaiming "This is all the Inheritance I can give to my dear family, The religion of Christ can give them one which will make them rich indeed".[34]

Given all this, it's no surprise that some have tried to use him as proof for The United States as a Christian nation.[35]

Patrick Henry and slavery[edit]

I regard it as something of an achievement on the part of Henry and his generation to have come to the position that slavery is wrong, and there is a sense in which, having done that, they set the standard by which we now measure their failure.
—Jon Kukla, former director of the Patrick Henry National Memorial and author of Patrick Henry: Champion of Liberty[36]

While he most eloquently spoke of the fundamental need for freedom ("Give me liberty, or give me death!"), Henry had a...complex relationship with slavery. Like many wealthy Virginians in the 18th century, Patrick Henry owned slaves. When he married his first wife, Sarah Shelton, he got eight slaves as part of the dowry, and he acquired more and more over time. Not much is known about them,[37] (partly since his Redhill plantation burned down in 1919)[36] but at least a couple acted as household servants,[37] and one slave took his master's sermons on liberty to heart by running away to the British, evidently hoping to win his freedom through military service.[38]

Patrick Henry was well aware how hypocritical it was for people like him to champion liberty and freedom while denying it for enslaved people. While he believed slavery was wrong, he couldn't really imagine life without his slaves, and felt that if it wasn't possible to abolish slavery, then people should at least try to treat slaves with kindness. For example, in a 1773 letter to abolitionist Robert PleasantsWikipedia, he wrote:[39]

Would any one believe that I am master of slaves of my own purchase? I am drawn along by the general inconvenience of living without them. I will not, I cannot justify it. However culpable my conduct, I will so far pay my devoir to virtue as to own the excellence and rectitude of her precepts, and to lament my want of conformity to them.

I believe a time will come, when an opportunity will be offered to abolish this lamentable evil; every thing we can do is to improve it if it happens in our day, if not, let us transmit to our descendants together with our slave a pity for their unhappy lot and an abhorrence for slavery. If we cannot reduce this wished for reformation to practice let us treat the unhappy victims with lenity; it is the farthest advance we can make towards justice; it is a debt we owe to the purity of our religion to show that it is at variance with that law which warrants slavery.

This is somewhat atypical for the time period and for Henry's background. Like Henry, much of the white Virginia gentry of that time felt that slaves should be treated kindly and that slaves should be taught Christianity and the ability to read and write, but they held that slavery was acceptable and sanctioned by the Bible.[36] The Anglican Church (which much of the gentry was a part of) also believed that slaves should be Christians, partly because "rescue the heathen savages from their godless ways" and whatnot, but also partly because they argued that slaves would be better behaved, more productive, and more willing to accept their enslavement if they were converted to Christianity.[40]

Unfortunately, in later years, Henry would prove to be less than willing to actually "abolish this lamentable evil". In 1788, Henry told the Virginia convention, "as much as I deplore slavery, I see that prudence forbids in abolition", feeling that it was too difficult to abolish slavery. Two years later, in 1790, when Robert Pleasants formed an abolitionist society and requested Henry's support, Henry neither joined the society nor tried to advance its cause during the Assembly's October session. That same year, when the Virginia Assembly was debating a series of then-recent antislavery petitions (one of which came from none other than Benjamin Franklin himself), Henry declined on the basis that it was "an improper time" to start considering abolishing slavery.[6]:362-364

In his last will and testament, Henry ordained that his slaves be divided up amongst his wife Dorothea and his various sons. While he did not free any slaves, he did allow Dorothea to do so if she wished.[34]

Views on the right to bear arms[edit]

Patrick Henry is sometimes quoted as saying "The great object is that every man be armed...Everyone who is able may have a gun"[41] or sometimes just "The great object is, that every man be armed."[42]:112 This is a real quote, but it's a bit odd to choose these specific words given the context. This line comes from one of Henry's speeches at the Virginia Ratifying Convention, and the specific section being quoted discusses who should have the power to discipline and arm militias, with Henry stating "The great object is that every man be armed" and "Everyone who is able may have a gun." as the base assumptions when planning militias.[43] It's a bit like taking "Everyone in this group is supposed to have a goat, but who's going to give them the goats?" and chopping it into " supposed to have a goat"

Mind you, P. Henry did believe in the right to bear arms, or at least, militias. In the same speech, he told the delegates of the Virginia Ratifying Convention that "The militia, sir, is our ultimate safety. We can have no security without it."[43] (Perhaps they should be quoting this part instead.) In an earlier speech, from the same convention, he called militias the "best and last defence".[30]

Way back during the Second Virginia Convention, Henry proposed a resolution proclaiming that "a well regulated Militia composed of Gentlemen and Yeoman is the natural Strength and only Security of a free Government", though it's worth considering the historical context and other political dimensions. The British government had recently tried to disarm local militias in England and Scotland, so being deprived of arms was a very real possibility in Henry's eyes. If Virginia relied on colonial militias rather than the royal army for defense, they could make the case that they didn't have to pay taxes in order to maintain an army they didn't need, and by choosing to arm themselves, they were also essentially stating that their royal governor had failed to protect them and were now forced to take matters into their own hands.[6]:167

See also[edit]


  1. As a side note, there is an entire foundation dedicated to re-enacting the Parsons' Cause trial for the education of the public. They also have events where people give presentations while dressed as a historical figure, such as Patrick Henry (who typically gets double-billed with Thomas Jefferson), Audie Murphy, Harriet Tubman, and Billy Graham, which is quite funny given Patrick Henry's remarks during the trial and the nature of the dispute in general.
  2. Some sources claim he said "I smell a rat." (present tense), which implies he said this before or during the convention, rather than "I smelt a rat." (past tense), which implies he said this afterwards, perhaps while being grilled on why he didn't attend. A few claim there's more to the quote, adding "I smelt a rat in Philadelphia, tending toward the monarchy".


  1. "Taxation no Tyranny" from "Political Tracts" by Samuel Johnson (1775) Wikisource
  2. Primary Sources, Patrick Henry Memorial Foundation
  3. 'Lion Of Liberty': Patrick Henry's Fiery Life by Michael Schaub (November 22, 2010) National Public Radio
  4. 4.0 4.1 Studley by Bernard Fisher (Published September 2, 2011;Last revised February 16, 2022) The Historical Marker Database
  5. Patrick Henry (1736–1799) by Jon Kukla (Last updated December 22, 2021) Encyclopedia Virginia, Virginia Humanities.
  6. 6.0 6.1 6.2 6.3 Patrick Henry: Champion of Liberty by Jon Kukla (2017) Simon & Schluster ISBN 978-1-4391-9081-4
  7. 7.0 7.1 7.2 7.3 Full Biography, Patrick Henry Memorial Foundation
  8. 8.0 8.1 8.2 Patrick Henry Arguing the Parsons’ Cause, Virginia Museum of History and Culture, Virginia Historical Society
  9. 9.0 9.1 Patrick Henry (1736-1799), The American Revolution, The Colonial Williamsburg Foundation
  10. 10.0 10.1 Patrick Henry by Jennifer Llewellyn and Steve Thompson (January 20, 2015) Alpha History
  11. The Parson's Opinion of the Parson's Cause by James Maury (December 12th, 1763) WikiSource
  12. Parsons’ Cause Speech, Patrick Henry Memorial Foundation
  13. 13.0 13.1 Founding myths : stories that hide our patriotic past by Ray Raphael (2004) The New Press ISBN 1565849213
  14. The Virginia Convention of 1776 : a discourse delivered before the Virginia Alpha of the Phi Beta Kappa Society, in the chapel of William and Mary College, in the city of Williamsburg, on the afternoon of July the 3rd, 1855 by Hugh Blair Grigsby (1855) J.W. Randolph
  15. "Patrick Henry's "Liberty of Death Speech": A Study in Disputed Authorship" in American Rhetoric: Context and Criticism edited by Thomas W. Benson (1989) Southern Illinois University Press ISBN 0-8093-1509-2
  16. Give Me Liberty or Give Me Death, Patrick Henry Memorial Foundation
  17. Today in History - May 29, Library of Congress
  18. A Dose of Liberty After Death for Patrick Henry by Clay S. Jenkinson (February 20, 2022) Governing
  19. Hong Kong court convicts man under security law for inciting secession with chants and speech by Selina Cheng (October 25, 2021) Hong Kong Free Press
  20. Prayers at Liberty Bell give thanks for court ruling by John Cox (June 24, 2022) The Bakersfield Californian
  21. Grocery Store Yanking Items With Political Packaging Prompts Boycott Calls by Adam Staten (June 21, 2022) Newsweek
  22. John Birch Society Responds to Liberal Narrative against JBS by Duncan Farris (April 17, 2019) Inland NW Report
  23. “Give Me Liberty, And Give Me Death!” What the anti-mask messages really say by Reggie Jackson (July 10, 2020) Milwaukee Independent
  24. ‘Give me liberty or … COVID-19’: The irony of coronavirus protests in the U.S. by Josh K. Elliott (April 20, 2020) Global News
  25. 25.0 25.1 25.2 25.3 Virginia Statute for Establishing Religious Freedom (1786) by John Ragosta (Last updated December 07, 2020) Encyclopedia Virginia, Virginia Humanities
  26. 26.0 26.1 26.2 Religion and the Founding of the American Republic: Religion and the State Governments, Library of Congress
  27. Constitution of the United States—A History, National Archives
  28. 28.0 28.1 The documentary history of the ratification of the Constitution: Ratification of the Constitution by the states: Virginia (1), edited by John P. Kaminski, Gaspare J. Saladino, Richard Leffler, Charles H. Schoenleber, and Marybeth Carlson (1988) The State Historical Society of Wisconsin
  29. 29.0 29.1 Patrick Henry, Virginia Ratifying Convention from: The Complete Anti-Federalist edited by Herbert J. Storing (1981) University of Chicago Press
  30. 30.0 30.1 30.2 30.3 30.4 30.5 30.6 "Speeches of Patrick Henry (June 5 and 7, 1788) from: The Anti-Federalist Papers and the Constitutional Convention Debates: The Clashes and Compromises that Gave Birth to Our Government edited by Ralph Ketcham (1985) Signet Classics May 2003 edition, Penguin Group ISBN 9780451528841
  31. "Anti-federalist Political Thought" by Ralpha Ketcham from: The Anti-Federalist Papers and the Constitutional Convention Debates: The Clashes and Compromises that Gave Birth to Our Government edited by Ralph Ketcham (1985) Signet Classics May 2003 edition, Penguin Group ISBN 9780451528841
  32. 32.0 32.1 The Faiths of the Founding Fathers by David L Holmes (2006) Oxford University Press USA - OSO ISBN 9780198041238
  33. Sketches of the Life and Character of Patrick Henry by William Wirt (1848) Revised Edition, Ithaca, N.Y., Mack, Andrus & co.
  34. 34.0 34.1 Henry's Will, Patrick Henry Memorial Foundation
  35. Patrick Henry: Defender of Christian liberty by Ron Hamman (Published June 15, 2009;Updated December 8, 2011) Frontiersman
  36. 36.0 36.1 36.2 Patrick Henry: Champion of Liberty by Jon Kukla (August 24, 2017) Virginia Museum of History and Culture, Virginia Historical Society
  37. 37.0 37.1 Patrick Henry's Scotchtown, Preservation Virginia
  38. American slaves fought for the British, hoped for liberty by Mary Ann Gwinn (May 15, 2006) Seattle Times
  39. Patrick Henry letter to Robert Pleasants (1773) WikiSource
  40. Slavery in the Yearly Sermons Before the Georgia Trustees by James R. Hertzler (1975) The Georgia Historical Quarterly, Volume 59 Supplement
  41. Patrick Henry, WikiQuote
  42. Not Your Father's Founders: An "Amended" Look at America's First Patriots by Arthur G. Sharp (2012) Adams Media ISBN 978-1-4405-4011-0
  43. 43.0 43.1 "Debate in Virginia Ratifying Convention - 14 June 1788" from: The Debates in the Several State Conventions on the Adoption of the Federal Constitution as Recommended by the General Convention at Philadelphia in 1787 edited by Jonathan Elliot (1888 Reprint)