Patrick Henry is best known for saying “Give me liberty or give me death.” That incredible statement was given before the Virginia convention on March 23, 1775 as they debated whether or not to send troops to fight in the Revolutionary War. Author Henry Mayer wrote the following, describing the climax of Henry’s speech:
“What is it that gentlemen wish?” [Henry] taunted as he slumped into an attitude of helplessness, head bowed and wrists crossed as if manacled. “Is life so dear, or peace so sweet, as to be purchased at the price of chains and slavery? Forbid it, Almighty God! . . . But as for me—give me liberty, or give me death!” He had paused, arms flung outward, as the word “liberty” rang out in the hushed sanctuary; then he smote his breast with an imaginary dagger in the perfect embodiment of heroic Roman virtue.”
“Liberty or Death” became a motto of the Revolutionary War. After several years of fighting a superior British army, one in which numerous Americans suffered death, liberty indeed was achieved. Several years later Mr. Henry gave another noteworthy speech, saying, “Righteousness alone can exalt [America] as a nation. Reader! Whoever thou art, remember this; and in thy sphere practice virtue thyself, and encourage it in others… The great pillars of all government and of social life: I mean virtue, morality, and religion. This is the armor, my friend, and this alone, that renders us invincible.”
Henry’s words were obviously written for future generations of Americans. Many of Mr. Henry’s speeches and letters were laced with scripture. He, like the majority of America’s Founding Fathers were devout Christians, men who sought to start a new nation, one in which was founded and grounded in Biblical principles. This new nation would be governed in a very different way, “beholden to its people – not a people beholden to the government– with only God as America’s autonomy.”
America has changed much in the last 244 years, and many of those changes were good. However, today we face a huge challenge as the American government has grown larger each day, and as each day goes by the more control it gets, and soon (if we aren’t already there) we will be a nation “beholden to the government.” Additionally, much effort is being given by many to remove God as our supreme guide and leader. Henry was quoting Proverbs 14:34 in that speech, which reads: “Righteousness exalteth a nation: but sin is a reproach to any people.” It’s time for American Christians to stand up, to get into the battle, armed with God’s Word, standing for truth, fighting this new battle in their prayer closets, begging God’s forgiveness, and for righteousness to prevail throughout America!
“Blessed are they that keep judgment, and he that doeth righteousness at all times. Remember me, O Lord, with the favour that thou bearest unto thy people: O visit me with thy salvation; That I may see the good of thy chosen, that I may rejoice in the gladness of thy nation, that I may glory with thine inheritance” (Psalms 106:3-5).