American history isn't full of chocolate rivers and gumdrop smiles. Pop history leads us to believe that our Founding Fathers were an inseparable force of men who jointly walked down the path to revolution. That couldn't be farther from the truth. American politics were just as torn in the 18th Century as they are now. As the war was brewing in 1775, Virginia had not yet fully committed itself to the American Revolution. Some of Virginia's most influential citizens? including George Washington and Thomas Jefferson? met in Richmond, Va. to determine the fate of their land. During the assembly, Patrick Henry uttered the famed phrase, "give me liberty or give me death!" His speech is credited with swaying the assembly to commit Virginian troops to the revolution, a move that undoubtedly won the war. Here is the full speech as made popular by William Wirt: 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! Those seven words have come to represent everything right about America. We are beholden to no crown, no leader, and no legislative body but our own, the people we elect. We are a people who will fight to the death for our liberties, both domestic and abroad. Our freedom directly relies on our willingness to give our all. It always has. There is no in-between: Give us liberty, or give us death.
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