All Wars Memorial

Patrick Henry 1775 Wall Transcription






23 MARCH 1775


Patrick Henry was born in Hanover, Colony of Virginia, on 29 May 1736. Virginia was one of the thirteen North American colonies ruled by King George III of Great Britain. Growing up on his family’s plantation, Patrick taught himself law. By 1736, he was a practicing attorney and was elected to the Virginia House of Burgesses in 1765.


Patrick’s first act of public defiance toward the king occurred when he proposed seven resolutions resisting the royal Stamp Act of 1765. Five were approved by the Burgesses. Patrick’s actions could have been declared treasonous by the King which would have resulted in having him jailed or hanged.


During the 1770s, colonists were increasingly resistant to British Taxation, imposed trade and commerce restrictions, closing of Boston Harbor and other similar problems and incidents acts of defiance and threats of rebellion continued to spread throughout the colonies.


Responding to the growing threats of rebellion, delegates to the second Virginia revolution convention convened on 20 March, 1775 at St. John’s Church in Richmond, Va. Approx. 50 percent of the attending delegates were loyal to the King. Patrick Henry, an ardent and vocal supporter or freedom, addressed the convention on 23 March 1777. He delivered an emotional and passionate speech in support of establishing a Virginia militia. Toward the end of the speech he cried out, “Gentlemen may cry peace, peace, but there is no peace… is life so dear or peace so sweet, as to be purchased at the price of slavery?” Then shouting out, “Forbid it for me – “, then throwing his arm and hand upward and seemingly to hold a dagger, he again cried out, “Give me liberty or give me death!” – and plunged the dagger into his heart. He slumped forward. The delegates were “spellbound.” Despite the number of delegates loyal to the king, Patrick’s dramatic and passionate speech was credited with swaying the vote to establish a Virginia militia. Twenty eight days later, the first shots of the American Revolutionary War were fired on 19 April 1775 at Lexington – Concord, Ma., bringing Virginia into the War.


“Give me Liberty or Death”, became a rallying cry among the colonists as they battled the King to be free and independent. After 8 years of war and at great cost, they won the right to be free. To achieve independence from Great Britain, the colonists suffered 30,000 casualties of which 13,000 were deaths. This cry, “Liberty or Death” has since resounded worldwide for the past 240 years by those willing to fight to be free from tyranny. Patrick Henry, statesmen, American hero, five term Virginia governor and patriot, died on 6 June 1799.


The Texas Society Daughters of the American Revolution dedicate this statue of Patrick Henry, an American hero, and the Plaza of Liberty with its walls of history, to the honor and memory of approx.. 1.3 million American military men and women killed creating, building and protecting the American Dream of Freedom, The United States of America. Dedicated this day, 19 April 2015, on the 240th anniversary of the first shots in the American Revolution fired on 19 April 1775 at Lexington – Concord, Massachusetts, and in celebration of the 120th anniversary of the Texas Society Daughters of the American Revolution, organized in 1985. May the sacrifices of these American heroes never be forgotten. “Guard that which is committed to thy trust.”