Patrick Henry was one of the major figures of the American Revolution and is best known for his words, “Give me liberty or give me death,” delivered in a speech to the Second Virginia Convention on March 23, 1775. In his speech to the Convention, Henry put forth a proposal that Virginia counties should raise militias to defend themselves, believing that war with Great Britain was imminent. Many of the delegates to the Convention were hesitant to approve any measures that might be viewed as hostile toward Great Britain, while still hoping for a peaceful reconciliation with the British. Word had not yet reached the colonies that King George had rejected the Continental Congress’ petition for redress of grievances. Henry’s impassioned speech and the support of Richard Henry Lee and Thomas Jefferson helped to pass the resolution by a few votes. Less than a month later, British troops and colonial militiamen clashed at Lexington and Concord, resulting in the first casualties of the Revolutionary War. Patrick Henry was a lawyer, orator, and statesman who dedicated most of his life to Virginia politics. He was an early critic of British authority and a leader in the movement of the American colonies toward independence. He served as a member of the House of Burgesses, as the first governor of the Commonwealth of Virginia, and was a delegate to the First and Second Continental Congresses. Patrick Henry also played a crucial role in securing men and arms for George Washington’s Continental Army.

From Jauflione Chapter, National Society Daughters of the American Revolution