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.
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Most Famous Patrick Henry Quotes
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!
Give me liberty or give me death! Patrick Henry
The Constitution is not an instrument for the government to restrain the people, it is an instrument for the people to restrain the government lest it come to dominate our lives and interests.
The great object is that every man be armed. Patrick Henry
The eternal difference between right and wrong does not fluctuate, it is immutable.
The first thing I have at heart is American liberty; the second thing is American union. 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 to provide for it.
A vitiated state of morals, a corrupted public conscience are incompatible with freedom. Patrick Henry
The liberties of a people never were, nor ever will be, secure when the transactions of their rulers may be concealed from them.
Guard with jealous attention the public liberty. Suspect everyone who approaches that jewel. Patrick Henry
The battle, sir, is not to the strong alone; it is to the vigilant, the active, the brave.
Perfect freedom is as necessary to the health and vigor of commerce as it is to the health and vigor of citizenship. 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?
When the American spirit was in its youth, the language of America was different: Liberty, sir, was the primary object. Patrick Henry
A King, by disallowing Acts of this salutary nature, from being the father of his people, degenerated into a Tyrant and forfeits all rights to his subjects’ obedience.
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
The distinctions between Virginians, Pennsylvanians, New Yorkers, and New Englanders are no more. I Am Not A Virginian, But An American!
We should not forget that the spark which ignited the American Revolution was caused by the British attempt to confiscate the firearms of the colonists. Patrick Henry
I know of no way of judging of the future but by the past.
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
Are we at last brought to such a humiliating and debasing degradation, that we cannot be trusted with arms for our own defense?
The Constitution is not an instrument for the government to restrain the people, it is an instrument for the people to restrain the government lest it comes to dominate our lives and interests. Patrick Henry
The great object is that every man be armed. Everyone who is able may have a gun.
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
If this be treason, make the most of it!
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. Patrick Henry
I like the dreams of the future better than the history of the past.
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 earthly blessings give us that precious jewel, and you may take every thing else! Patrick Henry
Guard with jealous attention the public liberty. Suspect everyone who comes near that precious jewel. Unfortunately, nothing will preserve it but downright force. When you give up that force, you are ruined.
Are we at last brought to such humiliating and debasing degradation that we cannot be trusted with arms for our defense? Where is the difference between having our arms in possession and under our direction, and having them under the management of Congress? If our defense be the real object of having those arms, in whose hands can they be trusted with more propriety, or equal safety to us, as in our own hands? 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 everyone who approaches that jewel.
If this be treason, make the most of it! Patrick Henry
When the American Spirit was in its youth, the language of America was different; Liberty, sir, was then the primary object.
If we wish to be free we must fight, I repeat, we must fight. Patrick Henry
It is when a people forget God that tyrants forge their chains.
The battle, sir, is not to the strong alone; it is to the vigilant, the active, the brave. Patrick Henry
Mr. President, it is natural to man to indulge in the illusions of hope. We are apt to shut our eyes against a painful truth, and listen to the song of that siren till she transforms us into beasts.
I believe a time will come when an opportunity will be offered to abolish this lamentable evil. 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
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
Liberty, the greatest of all earthly blessings give us that precious jewel and you may take everything else!
Three million 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. Patrick Henry
For my part, whatever anguish of spirit it may cost, I am willing to know the whole turuth; to know the worst, and to provide for it
There is no retreat but in submission and slavery! Our chains are forged! Their clanking may be heard on the plains of Boston! The war is inevitable, and let it come! I repeat, Sir, let it come! Patrick Henry
It is the business of a virtuous clergy to censure vice in every appearance of it.
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
Give me liberty or give me death
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
We must all hang together, or assuredly we shall all hang separately.
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? Patrick Henry
Good government generally begins in the family, and if the moral character of a people once degenerate, their political character must soon follow.
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
A little matter will move a party, but it must be something great that moves a nation.
United we stand, divided we fall. Patrick Henry
The truth is, all might be free if they valued freedom and defended it as they ought.