95+ Best Patrick Henry Quotes: Exclusive Selection

Patrick Henry was an American attorney, planter, and orator best known for his declaration to the Second Virginia Convention: “Give me liberty, or give me death!” A Founding Father, he served as the first and sixth post-colonial Governor of Virginia, from 1776 to 1779 and from 1784 to 1786. Inspirational Patrick Henry quotes will encourage growth in life, make you wiser and broaden your perspective.

If you’re searching for best quotes by presidents that perfectly capture what you’d like to say or just want to feel inspired yourself, browse through an amazing collection of Samuel Adams quotes, notable James Madison quotes, and famous John Adams quotes.

Most Famous Patrick Henry Quotes

The liberties of a people never were, nor ever will be, secure, when the transactions of their rulers may be concealed from them. – Patrick Henry

I have but one lamp by which my feet are guided, and that is the lamp of experience. – Patrick Henry

I know of no way of judging the future but by the past. – Patrick Henry

Shall we gather strength by irresolution and inaction? – Patrick Henry

My great objection to this government is, that it does not leave us the means of defending our rights, or of waging war against tyrants. – Patrick Henry

Liberty ought to be the direct end of your government. – Patrick Henry

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. – Patrick Henry

Amongst other strange things said of me, I hear it is said by the deists that I am one of the number; and indeed, that some good people think I am no Christian. This thought gives me much more pain than the appellation of Tory; because I think religion of infinitely higher importance than politics; and I find much cause to reproach myself that I have lived so long, and have given no decided and public proofs of my being a Christian. But, indeed, my dear child, this is a character which I prize far above all this world has, or can boast. – Patrick Henry

There is a just God who presides over the destinies of nations, and who will raise up friends to fight our battles for us. – Patrick Henry

If this be treason, make the most of it! – Patrick Henry

sir, we should have fine times, indeed, if, to punish tyrants, it were only sufficient to assemble the people! Your arms, wherewith you could defend yourselves, are gone; and you have no longer an aristocratical, no longer a democratical spirit. Did you ever read of any revolution in a nation, brought about by the punishment of those in power, inflicted by those who had no power at all? – Patrick Henry

That religion, or the duty which we owe to our Creator, and the manner of discharging it, can be directed only by reason and conviction, not by force or violence; and therefore all men are equally entitled to the free exercise of religion, according to the dictates of the conscience; and it is the mutual duty of all to practice Christian forbearance, love, and charity towards each other. – Patrick Henry

You are not to inquire how your trade may be increased, nor how you are to become a great and powerful people, but how your liberties can be secured; for liberty ought to be the direct end of your government. – Patrick Henry

I look on that paper (the Constitution) as the most fatal plan that could possibly be conceived to enslave a free people. – Patrick Henry

The American Revolution was the grand operation, which seemed to be assigned by the Deity to the men of this age in our country, over and above the common duties of life – Patrick Henry

Suspicion is a virtue as long as its object is the public good, and as long as it stays within proper bounds. Guard with jealous attention the public liberty. Suspect every one who approaches that jewel. – Patrick Henry

Perfect freedom is as necessary to the health and vigor of commerce as it is to the health and vigor of citizenship. – Patrick Henry

The whole economy of this lower world proves that it is by labor and perseverance only that good is obtained and evil is avoided. – Patrick Henry

My political curiosity, exclusive of my anxious solicitude for the public welfare, leads me to ask who authorized them (the framers of the Constitution) to speak the language of ‘We, the People,’ instead of ‘We, the States’? – Patrick Henry

The militia is our ultimate safety. We can have no security without it. The great object is that every man be armed. – Patrick Henry

Liberty, the greatest of all earthly blessings – give us that precious jewel and you may take everything else! – Patrick Henry

Whether this will prove a blessing or a curse, will depend upon the use our people will make of the blessings which a gracious God hath bestowed on us. If they are wise, they will be great and happy. If they are of a contrary character, they will be miserable. Righteousness alone can exalt them as a nation. Reader! Whoever thou art, remember this: and in thy sphere practice virtue thyself, an encourage it in others. – Patrick Henry

I have the highest veneration of those Gentleman, — but, Sir, give me leave to demand, what right had they to say, We, the People? My political curiosity, exclusive of my anxious solicitude for the public welfare, leads me to ask who authorized them to speak the language of, We, the People, instead of We, the States? States are the characteristics, and the soul of the confederation. If the States be not the agents of this compact, it must be one of great consolidated National Government of the people of all the States. – Patrick Henry

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. – Patrick Henry

He that hath a blind conscience which sees nothing, a dead conscience which feels nothing, and a dumb conscience which says nothing, is in as miserable a condition as a man can be on this side of hell. – Patrick Henry

The question before the House is one of awful moment to this country. For my own part, I consider it as nothing less than a question of freedom or slavery – Patrick Henry

Human nature will never part with power. Look for an example of a voluntary relinquishment of power from one end of the globe to another – you will find none. – Patrick Henry

Were my soul trembling on the wing of eternity, were this hand freezing to death, were my voice choking with the last struggle, I would still, with the last gasp of that voice, implore you to remember the truth: God has given America to be free. – Patrick Henry

We have not yet begun to fight. – Patrick Henry

The people have a right to keep and bear arms. – Patrick Henry

Show me that age and country where the rights and liberties of the people were placed on the sole chance of their rulers being good men, without a consequent loss of liberty? – Patrick Henry

The distinctions between Virginians, Pennsylvanians, New Yorkers, and New Englanders are no more. I Am Not A Virginian, But An American! – Patrick Henry

Adversity toughens manhood, and the characteristic of the good or the great man is not that he has been exempt from the evils of life, but that he has surmounted them. – Patrick Henry

I shall act as I think my duty requires. – Patrick Henry

Are we at last brought to such an humiliating and debasing degradation, that we cannot be trusted with arms for our defense? – Patrick Henry

The great object is that every man be armed. – Patrick Henry

The first thing I have at heart is American liberty; the second thing is American union. – Patrick Henry

Fear is the passion of slaves. – Patrick Henry

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! – Patrick Henry

I believe a time will come when an opportunity will be offered to abolish this lamentable evil. – Patrick Henry

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. Beside, 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. – Patrick Henry

This house protected by an armed citizen. There is absolutely nothing here worth dying for. – Patrick Henry

Is the relinquishment of the trial by jury and the liberty of the press necessary for your liberty? Will the abandonment of your most sacred rights tend to the security of your liberty? Liberty, the greatest of all earlthy blessings – give us that precious jewel, and you may take every things else! . . . Guard with jealous attention the public liberty. Suspect every one who approaches that jewel. – Patrick Henry

Caesar had his Brutus, Charles the First his Cromwell; and George the Third — [‘Treason!’ cried the Speaker] — may profit by their example. If this be treason, make the most of it. – Patrick Henry

The great pillars of all government and of social life [are] virtue, morality, and religion. This is the armor, my friend, and this alone, that renders us invincible. – Patrick Henry

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. – Patrick Henry

I know not what others may choose but, as for me, give me liberty or give me death. – Patrick Henry

I have now disposed of all my property to my family. There is one thing more I wish I could give them, and that is the Christian religion. – Patrick Henry

When the American spirit was in its youth, the language of America was different: Liberty, sir, was the primary object. – Patrick Henry

The Bible is worth all the other books which have ever been printed. – Patrick Henry

For my part, whatever anguish of spirit it may cost, I am willing to know the whole truth; to know the worst and provide for it. – Patrick Henry

This is all the inheritance I give to my dear family. The religion of Christ will give them one which will make them rich indeed. – Patrick Henry

We are now able to see things in nature of what was previously only available in computer simulation. – Patrick Henry

There is a Book worth all other books which were ever printed. – Patrick Henry

I like dreams of the future better than the history of the past. – Patrick Henry

My most cherished possession I wish I could leave you is my faith in Jesus Christ, for with Him and nothing else you can be happy, but without Him and with all else you’ll never be happy. – Patrick Henry

Righteousness alone can exalt America as a nation. Whoever thou art, remember this; and in thy sphere practice virtue thyself, and encourage it in others. – Patrick Henry

Should I keep back my opinions at such a time, through fear of giving offense, I should consider myself as guilty of treason towards my country, and of an act of disloyalty toward the Majesty of Heaven, which I revere above all earthly kings. – Patrick Henry

It is natural to man to indulge in the illusion of hope. We are apt to shut our eyes against a painful truth, till she transforms us into beasts. – Patrick Henry

The officers of Congress, may come upon you now, fortified with all the terrors of paramount federal authority. Excisemen taxmen may come in multitudes; for the limitation of their numbers no man knows. They may, unless the general government be restrained … go into your cellars and rooms, and search, ransack, and measure, everything you eat, drink, and wear. – Patrick Henry

I am sure that the dangers of this system (the Federal Constitution) are real, when those who have no similar interest with the people of this country (the South) are to legislate for us – when our dearest rights are to be left, in the hands of those, whose advantage it will be to infringe them. – Patrick Henry

The eternal difference between right and wrong does not fluctuate, it is immutable. – Patrick Henry

The Constitution is said to have beautiful features; but when I come to examine these features, Sir, they appear to me horribly frightful. Among other deformities, it has an awful squinting – it squints towards monarchy. And does not this raise indignation in the breast of every true American? Your president may easily become king. . . . Where are your checks in this government? . . . I would rather infinitely – and I am sure most of this convention are of the same opinion – have a king, lords, and commons than a government so replete with such insupportable evils. – Patrick Henry

I’m sick of all you ammo-phobes being intolerant of my gun. – Patrick Henry

Gentlemen may cry, Peace, Peace! – but there is no peace. – Patrick Henry

Have we the means of resisting disciplined armies, when our only defense, the militia, is put in the hands of Congress? Of what service would militia be to you when, most probably, you will not have a single musket in the state? For, as arms are to be provided by Congress, they may or may not provide them. – Patrick Henry

Is it not amazing that at a time when the rights of humanity are defined and understood with precision, in a country, above all others, fond of liberty-that in such an age and in such a country we find men professing a religion the most humane, mild, gentle and generous, adopting a principle as repugnant to humanity as it is inconsistent with the Bible, and destructive to liberty? – Patrick Henry

Implements of war and subjugation are the last arguments to which kings resort. – Patrick Henry

I am not a Virginian, I am an American. – Patrick Henry

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? – Patrick Henry

If our government servants had to comply with the Sarbanes-Oxley Act as they have forced all of American business to do, they would be in jail. – Patrick Henry

[Our Constitution] is an instrument for the people to restrain the government. – Patrick Henry

Give me liberty, or give me death! While we’re at it, I would also like a fourth Pirates of the Caribbean movie. – Patrick Henry

If you have given up your militia, and Congress shall refuse to arm them, you have lost every thing. Your existence will be precarious, because you depend on others, whose interests are not affected by your infelicity. – Patrick Henry

Be of good courage, my son, and remember that the best men always make themselves. – Patrick Henry

First, the Constitution ought to secure a genuine and guard against a select militia, by providing that the militia shall always be kept well organized, armed, and disciplined, and include, according to the past and general usage of the states, all men capable of bearing arms; and that all regulations tending to render this general militia useless and defenseless, by establishing select corps of militia, or distinct bodies of military men, not having permanent interests and attachments in the community to be avoided. – Patrick Henry

Oh, how wretched should I be at this moment, if I had not made my peace with God. – Patrick Henry

We should transmit to posterity our abhorrence of slavery. – Patrick Henry

I know some say, let us have good laws, and no matter for the men that execute them: but let them consider, that though good laws do well, good men do better: for good laws may want good men, and be abolished or evaded [invaded in Franklin’s print] by ill men; but good men will never want good laws, nor suffer ill ones. – Patrick Henry

Hospitality invites to prayer before it checks credentials, welcomes to the table before administering the entrance exam. – Patrick Henry

Away with your president! We shall have a king… the army will salute him as monarch; your militia will leave you and assist in making him king and fight against you. And what have you to oppose this force? What will then become of you and your rights? – Patrick Henry

Being a Christian… is a character which I prize far above all this world has or can boast. – Patrick Henry

The battle is not to the strong alone. It is to the vigilant, the active, and the brave. A small, disciplined militia can not only hold out against a larger force, but drive it back, because what they’re fighting for rightfully belongs to them. – Patrick Henry

It is when a people forget God, that tyrants forge their chains. – Patrick Henry

Bad men cannot make good citizens. A vitiated state of morals, a corrupted public conscience are incompatible with freedom. – Patrick Henry

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? – Patrick Henry

It is the business of a virtuous clergy to censure vice in every appearance of it. – Patrick Henry

Suffer not yourselves to be betrayed with a kiss. Ask yourselves how this gracious reception of our petition comports with those warlike preparations which cover our waters and darken our land. Are fleets and armies necessary to a work of love and reconciliation? Have we shown ourselves so unwilling to be reconciled, that force must be called in to win back our love? Let us not deceive ourselves, sir. These are the implements of war and subjugation the last arguments to which kings resort. – Patrick Henry

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! – Patrick Henry

The King has degenerated into a tyrant and forfeits all rights to his subjects’ obedience. – Patrick Henry

Jealousy is the only vice that gives no pleasure – Patrick Henry

What right do they have to say “we the people” rather than we the States? – Patrick Henry

United we stand, divided we fall. Let us not split into factions which must destroy that union upon which our existence hangs. – Patrick Henry

Power is the great evil with which we are contending. We have divided power between three branches of government and erected checks and balances to prevent abuse of power. However, where is the check on the power of the judiciary? If we fail to check the power of the judiciary, I predict that we will eventually live under judicial tyranny. – Patrick Henry

You ought to be extremely cautious, watchful, jealous of your liberty; for instead of securing your rights, you may lose them forever. – Patrick Henry

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