Patrick Henry

“Are we at last brought to such a humiliating and debasing degradation, that we cannot be trusted with arms for our own defence? Where is the difference between having our arms in our own possession and under our own direction, and having them under the management of Congress? If our defence 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 1788 [via madisonbrigade.com]

50 Responses to Quote of the Day: Give Me Liberty Or Give Me Death Edition

  1. Living document! Muskets! Public right! Militia! Arglebargle!

    The only honest argument they could make is “we don’t think you’ll be needing that, yoink.”

  2. Who is best prepared to act in your own defense? You are.

    Many, dare I say most, do not want this responsibility. It exists nevertheless.

    • Even the disarmers say the same thing. At work and our school district’s police department give the same advice – the police are there to stop the overarching threat, you are responsible for your individual safety, and no you can’t bring a gun (or any weapon) to work/school.

      It’s really incongruent to me how that works. No we won’t protect you. Yes, use the fire extinguisher or scissors or other workplace implement to cause fatal harm. No you can’t bring a device specifically intended to serve as a weapon to work.

      • The business is fearful of liability (you obviously know that).

        Think about it: If a shooter comes in with the intent to kill and you had no weapon, very likely *you* will be dead.

        Remember that doctor awhile back that carried a Seecamp (against hospital policy) and defended his life with it. That doc still employed.

        I think you and your loved ones would much rather see you unemployed than dead.

        Your miles (unfortunately) may vary…

        • The first question I asked my current employer after he offered me the job was can I carry my firearm. He pulled his gun out and placed it on the desk, then said any other questions.

  3. Words forged seeking Liberty from British policy. Policy of imposing taxes without representation and denying the rights of Englishmen.

    Today, our elected representatives deny citizens lawful self defense and they are very comfortable imposing their values on us.

    Merry Christmas

    • Freedom from the British, future invaders, and even defense against a potentially tyrannical federal government was certainly the driving force of the Second Amendment. However, even the Founders and Framers had were aware of the need for general self-defense from terrorists, common criminals, and even school spree shooters.

      The earliest recorded mass shooting at an American school, after all, took place on July 26, 1764 in Greencastle, PA, when a teacher and ten students were shot dead by four Lenape American Indians.

  4. watch the “sons of liberty” on the history Chanel…very good presentation a little Hollywood but not bad

    • Grab it from the fellow minuteman who gave his life fighting off raiders. Don’t enjoy it too much; deathclaw sighted in the area.

  5. Stopping evil by killing is the greatest display of love for your loved ones.
    A parent killing in defense of their children is displaying one of the greatest acts of love for their child.

    A policeman who kills in defense of innocent citizens displays their love for their fellow man. The problem is some people put the innocent and the evil on the same level of value.

    I’m glad the police killed the evil who decided to murder a Christmas party in San Bernardino. The innocent were denied the ability to defend themselves by the leaders of California and sad to say the voters who put them in charge.
    The disarmament crowd is willfully ignorant of evil and willfully ignorant of the purpose of the second amendment.
    Merry Christmas everyone.

  6. You might be an Atheist if . . .

    You believe that America’s Founding Fathers were Deists when they were writing The Constitution
    And Christians when they were beating their slaves 🙂

    The 2A is both a private and a corporate right. The overwhelming amount of extra-constitutional writings made by the architects of this nation support civilian armament. If you take an historical-grammatical approach when examining The Constitution then the Founding Fathers become the right-wing radicals that the progressives deep down know that they are.

    • Keep the corporate junk out of it. Corporations in the 18th Century were chartered organizations, permitted by the government to do a public good, make some money, for a limited time, and then usually ‘unchartered’. They were not in any sense of the word a “legal person”, nor did they have rights beyond protecting the people who made up the corporation from lawsuits and competition for the duration of their charter.

      If the Founders had any idea what corporations would have been allowed to morph into (mostly via SCOTUS decisions), I am POSITIVE they would have put an 11th Amendment to the Bill of Rights establishing organic people who are born, live and die as they only entities entitled to Constitutional protections.

      Liberals may be dumb on guns, but conservatives can be pretty boneheaded about economics and the rest of the civil liberties we should be entitled to.

      • I would say it is more the opposite, that it is the liberals who tend to be more dumb on issues of economics. As for civil liberties, both sides happily infringe on the select liberties that they think are not important. Regarding corporations, the Court I think has gotten it plenty right with regards to corporations.

        For example, the so-called campaign-finance legislation that Citizens United struck down was blatantly anti-free speech. The Left claimed that by allowing unlimited corporate spending in political campaigns, regarding political speech, that such a thing will drown out the voices of the average citizen and possibly “destroy” our democratic system. The reality though is the precise opposite. Placing limits on corporate speech is what drowns out the voice of the average citizen and makes it where only the Michael Bloombergs and the Koch Brothers of the world have the monopoly on political speech during elections.

        The problem is that when people hear the word “corporation,” they are thinking Big Business, like Exxon-Mobil or IBM or Comcast, etc…they don’t realize that a corporation is just a type of legal structure that happens to be used by many businesses, but that not all businesses are corporations and not all corporations are businesses. Almost every civil rights organization in the country is structured as a corporation. For example, the NRA is a non-profit corporation.

        What these non-profit corporations do is allow citizens to pool their resources/money together to engage in political speech that otherwise would be out of their price range. So for example, if such corporate speech was limited, then a wealthy individual like Michael Bloomberg could run all the anti-gun ads he wants, but a civil rights organization like the NRA would be banned from doing so, even though in doing so it is giving voice to its 5 million members and numerous other non-members who give it moral support. So rather than drowning out the voice of the ordinary citizen, the Citizens United decision protects the speech of the average citizen.

        I do not think the Founders would thus have been so anti-corporate as you claim.

      • Whom shall we make King! This is the true American Idol. My favorites would be all of the nameless and faceless cannon fodder that kept the founders riding high in the rear.

        • All of the Founders (by which I mean, signers of the Declaration of Independence) risked their lives and fortunes in the cause of independence. Some helped finance the war and organization efforts leading up to it. Seventeen Founders actually fought in the Revolution. Five Founders were captured by the British.

          Some of those who didn’t serve in the war itself were dispatched elsewhere to far greater effect than they could have contributed in battle. Benjamin Franklin’s work in France during the war, for example, was immeasurably more valuable than having him help crew a cannon personally.

          These were men who forfeited the security of wealth and high station for the cause of independence, and then refrained from simply imposing their own brand of tyranny. I understand it wasn’t perfect. Just ask the blacks, natives, women, and non-landowners of the day. I get it. Still, it was a sea change in human history, one which put America on course to be the greatest Earthly force for good in all of human history.

  7. “The summer soldier and the sunshine patriot will, in this crisis, 
    shrink from the service of their country; but he that stands it now, deserves the love and thanks of man and woman. 
    Tyranny, like hell, is not easily conquered; yet we have this consolation with us, that the harder the conflict, the more glorious the triumph.”

    – Thomas Paine

  8. He wrote that in 1788. After the revolutionary war, after the constitutional convention but before the constitution was ratified.

    I have to wonder, why did he write that, then? What was the context?

    • It’s obvious why he wrote it. Already there were people who sought to consolidate power. Civilian disarmers didn’t just start in the 20th century.

    • December 23, 1776. The context was the crucible if Valley Forge. The Continental Army was fading, enlistments were coming to a close, and fate of the rebellion on edge of surrender.

    • MK is correct. Thomas Paine wrote that in “The American Crisis” in December of 1776 (sometimes cited as Dec. 19th, sometimes Dec. 23rd, but Dec. 1776, nonetheless), to stir resolve among the embattled Continental Army that Winter.

    • Paine wrote these lines at the beginning of The Revolution. It was first published December 19th, 1776, after the losses on Long Island, Brooklyn,
      & Manhattan.

      The pamphlet, read aloud to the Continental Army on December 23, 1776, three days before the Battle of Trenton, attempted to bolster morale and resistance among patriots, as well as shame neutrals and loyalists toward the cause:

      The first of the pamphlets was released during a time when the Revolution was still viewed as an unsteady prospect. Its opening sentence was adopted as the watchword of the movement to Trenton.
      The opening lines are as follows:[3]

      These are the times that try men’s souls: The summer soldier and the sunshine patriot will, in this crisis, shrink from the service of his country; but he that stands it now, deserves the love and thanks of man and woman.

      Tyranny, like hell, is not easily conquered; yet we have this consolation with us, that the harder the conflict, the more glorious the triumph.

      https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_American_Crisis

  9. People get the government they vote for.

    The wonder is not that these Founding Fathers wrote, believed, fought and died for their beliefs. There have been many great thinkers and philosophers in history that have given thier all in defense of thier beliefs. The wonder was that there was enough of the “common people” that recognised their greatness of thought. And believed enough in those thoughts and beliefs to fight as a people against one of the greatest military power of it’s time, and ultimately, won.

    I look at those same great thinkers snd philosophers of today, speaking those same thought and beliefs, and how they are labeled as “terrorists” and “insurrectionist” by some of the Powers That Be, and I wonder if there are enough of the “common people” that will stand, and if need be fight, to keep the freedom that so many have given “thier lives, their fortunes and their sacred honor” to protect.

    I hope and pray that the ballot box will suffice in this battle against those that wish to enslave us all.

    Merry Christmas Everyone.

  10. What happens if we take Mr. Henrey’s rhetorical question as literal, assume there *is* a difference in who wields the arms, and answer what that might be?

    “Where is the difference between having our arms in our own possession and under our own direction, and having them under the management of Congress?”

    Because arms under the management of Congress, are managed to their benefit, not yours. You weren’t supposed to notice that.

    Put another way:

    Dear Congresscritters:

    You can unilaterally and exclusively manage the use of arms exactly as long, and as far as it is done for exclusively for the benefit of the citizens. All of us. For our benefit as we see it.

    Since you haven’t been able to do that yet, we’ll hang on to taking care of ourselves, bothersome as that might be. But, do try again. Who knows, you might get it right one day.

    – Your (disappointed, but not surprised) Bosses

  11. History is not made via flowery statements and ornate speech. History is made by blood, by violence. Your rights are not given to you: they are taken, by force if necessary, from those who would deny them.

    Sonny Bunch writing a review of The Hateful Eight for the Free Beacon.

  12. “False is the idea of utility that sacrifices a thousand real advantages for one imaginary or trifling inconvenience; that would take fire from man because it burns, and water because one may drown in it; that has no remedies for evil except destruction. The laws that forbid the carrying of arms are laws of such a nature. They disarm those only who are neither inclined nor determined to commit crimes. Can it be supposed that those who have the courage to violate the most sacred laws of humanity, the most important of the code, will respect the less important and arbitrary ones, which can be violated with ease and impunity, and which, if strictly obeyed, would put an end to personal liberty—so dear to men, so dear to the enlightened legislator—and subject innocent people to all the vexations that the quality alone ought to suffer? Such things make things worse for the assaulted and better for the assailants; they serve rather to encourage than to prevent homicides, for the unarmed man may be attacked with greater confidence than an armed man.”



    Cesare Beccaria — 1764

    • If people kept forgetting how to make fire like they keep forgetting basic truths such as this, we would still be living in cold dark caves, eating raw meat with the only light from the sun.

      As it is, we have been to the moon, but for many, we still live in the darkness of ignorance of where true freedom originates and in which hands are best left the tools to defend it.
      .

  13. Some other good ones;
    “I ask, Sir, what is the militia? It is the whole people. To disarm the people is the best and most effectual way to enslave them.” – George Mason, Speech in the Virginia Ratifying Convention, June 14, 1778
    “That a well-regulated militia, composed of the body of the people, trained to arms, is the proper, natural and safe defense of a free state; that standing armies, in time of peace, should be avoided as dangerous to liberty; and that, in all cases, the military should be under strict subordination to, and governed by, the civil power.” – George Mason, Virginia Declaration of Rights, June 12, 1776
    “False is the idea of utility that sacrifices a thousand real advantages for one imaginary or trifling inconvenience; that would take fire from men because it burns, and water because one may drown in it; that has no remedy for evils, except destruction. Laws that forbid the carrying of arms are laws of such a nature. They disarm only those who are neither inclined nor determined to commit crimes.… Such laws make things worse for the assaulted and better for the assailants; they act rather to encourage than to prevent homicides, for an unarmed man may be attacked with greater confidence than an armed man.” – Thomas Jefferson, Quoting Cesare Beccaria, On Crimes and Punishment

    • The context of a well regulated militia is important noting the British Army regularly housed troops in private homes. Founding Fathers were reluctant to build an army worrying that a federal government would employ the same against its citizens. A militia solved this problem. Armed citizens available should the need arise.

      • This is THE key point that the antis always miss(purposely, natch). That a militia is made up of volunteers, unpaid, who can come and go as they please, but while a part of the unit they must obey orders, otherwise they just become a mob(this is the “well regulated” part).
        But this is totally counter to their agenda of Statism(the worship of state authority). Once it is understood that a militia is just a force of citizens, available at a moments notice, and with no central headquarters or storage areas to be conquered, then it becomes obvious(painfully so, for an anti) that they MUST have their own arms, as in the event of the need for them, there will be no central area to supply from. And it follows from that that the arms they will need are whatever their enemy has, at any given moment. Therefore, the age of the amendment, and any subsequent changes in tech, are rightly irrelevant.

  14. “Give Me Liberty Or Give Me Death” is a great quote, but there is reason to doubt he actually said that. The text of the speech was not written down at the time. The quote first appeared 18 years later from a Patrick Henry biographer, William Writ, who got it from recollections of Judge St. George Tucker, who actually attended the speech 18 years earlier. Writ even admitted his reconstruction of the speech was probably very inaccurate and some historians say that the phrasing does not fit the pattern of more reliable accounts of Henry’s speeches.

    • This quote is actually from the Second Virginia Convention, met March 20, 1775 inland at Richmond–in what is now called St. John’s Church–instead of the Capitol in Williamsburg.
      It contains a great many good things, including the WHOLE quote; “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!”
      Much more powerful complete, is it not? The entire thing can be found from the Colonial Willamsburg Foundation here; http://www.history.org/almanack/life/politics/giveme.cfm
      They admit that: “and later attorney general of the United States, Wirt began to collect materials for the biography in 1808, nine years after Henry’s death. From the recollections of men like Thomas Jefferson, Wirt reconstructed an account of Henry’s life, including the remarks presented below.”
      I think one of the even better ones is; ” 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 that we have already listened to that song since 1913, and are already little more than beasts. Witness the gang bangers, the mass shootings, the mental unhealth, the insanity of the entire beltway and media, etc, etc…

      • I agree Kenneth.
        Baltimore Mayor Stephanie Rawlings/Blake. during the riots.

        “Gave those that wish to destroy a space to do so”.

        The possible epitaph on the tomb stone of a once great nation.

  15. My takeaway from all of these resurgent Founding Fathers quotes is that we’ve come full circle. We’re right back at the point we were 250 years ago when they were inspired to first say those things. Strange that they fought so hard to be unlike Britan and today, so many fight to become like them again.

    I am supremely sadden that their words have to surface again to remind us of why we fought in the first place.

  16. If you’re interested in the life of Patrick Henry, may I recommend:
    Lion of Liberty: Patrick Henry and the Call to a New Nation

    “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

    “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? Shall we gather strength by irresolution and inaction? 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? Sir, we are not weak if we make a proper use of those means which the God of nature hath placed in our power.”
    ― Patrick Henry

    “In this action-packed history, award-winning author Harlow Giles Unger unfolds the epic story of Patrick Henry, who roused Americans to fight government tyranny—both British and American. Remembered largely for his cry for “liberty or death,” Henry was actually the first (and most colorful) of America’s Founding Fathers—first to call Americans to arms against Britain, first to demand a bill of rights, and first to fight the growth of big government after the Revolution.”

    http://www.amazon.com/Lion-Liberty-Patrick-Henry-Nation/dp/0306820463/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1451085778&sr=8-1&keywords=the+lion+of+liberty

  17. Aristotle, Cicero, Thomas Aquinas, John Milton, Algernon Sidney, John Locke, Charles Montesqieu, James Madison, Thomas Jefferson, Justice William Blackstone, St. George Tucker, Thomas Paine, Thomas Hobbes, etc…all spoke of the right to self defense and the right to keep and bear arms. The four most influential political philosophers to the Founders in the writing of the Declaration of Independence were Aristotle, Cicero, Algernon Sidney, and John Locke. At least three (Cicero, Sidney, and Locke) spoke of the individual right to self-defense and all four spoke of the importance and right of the people to possess arms to check a tyranny.

    • Correction: I mean all of those guys all spoke of the right to self defense and arms and the right to resist a tyranny.

  18. we went from “Give me liberty or death !” to “The way to defeat these terrorists is to have a climate change summit.” In way too few generations.

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