Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Give Me Liberty Not Give Me Freedom


Patrick Henry's speech of "Give me Liberty or Give Me Death" is well known as one of the precursors to what we now call 4th of July, our Independence Day .

Henry saw liberty as the action of freeing the colonies from the rule of Britain and his majesty King George.  He also recognized the result of this new action called liberty was freedom.

Henry did not say give me freedom or give me death.

No, because liberty was far more reaching, much more encompassing that just freedom.

With the overwhelming majority of the colonists content with their freedom (research suggests less than 10% of the colonial population was involved in the American Revolution), Henry spoke to those forward thinkers who saw how liberty freed the individuals to be even better than they currently were.

At the time of the Revolution, Americans had the highest per capita income in the civilized world and paid the lowest taxes. Henry and other soon to be rebels wanted this to continue because they recognized their economic to intellectual prosperity would be stranglehold by Britain.

More importantly, Henry understood liberty had consequences when he spoke these words:

"Are we disposed to be of the number of those who, having eyes, see not, and having ears, hear not, the things which so nearly concern their temporal salvation?  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."

How many times do we as citizens fail to speak up, to call the Emperor or King in Henry's case, naked? 

We fear because we do not want to know the whole truth or to take the appropriate action implied in a Few Good Men when Jack Nicholson said "You can't handle the truth." 

Maybe we fear because we may lose business if we are self-employed or possibly because someone may make a judgement about us such as being an uncaring, self serving, rich 1%, to even racist. 

The question we all should be asking ourselves today is:

What is the difference between King George then and the Federal Government today?

"I ask gentlemen, sir, what means this martial array if its purpose be not to force us to submission? Can gentlemen assign any other possible motives for it? Has the U.S. Federal Government any enemy, in this quarter of the world to call for all this accumulation of  IRS agents to compliance officers? No, sir, she has none. They are meant for us: they can be meant for no other. They are sent over to bind and rivet upon us those chains which the U.S. Federal Government have been so long forging." (Note:  Only changed the words in red.)

Henry continues and again how are his words spoken over 200 years ago any different today?

"Let us not, I beseech you, sir, deceive ourselves longer.  Sir, we have done everything that could be done to avert the storm which is now coming on. We have petitioned - we have remonstrated - we have supplicated - we have prostrated ourselves before the throne (Courts), and have implored its interposition to arrest the tyrannical hands of the ministry (President) and Parliament (Congress).  Our petitions have been slighted; our remonstrances have produced additional violence and insult; our supplications have been disregarded; and we have been spurned, with contempt, from the foot of the throne (Courts).  

 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 (electronic monitoring device) 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 the means which the God of nature hath placed in our power. Three millions of people (210 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."

Besides, 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.  The battle, sir, is not to the strong alone; it is to the vigilant, the active, the brave. Besides, sir, we have no election. If we were base enough to desire it, it is now too late to retire from the contest. 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 it, sir, let it come!

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! 

Tags: Give me liberty or give me death, Patrick Henry, American Revolution, highest per capita income, Independence Day, Leanne Hoagland-Smith To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to Conservative Voices. Thanks!

2 comments:

I Want My Country Back said...

Without freedom, you can't be anything--not even a songwriter or a blogger.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=le7IV1ltgNE

Bill Smith said...

Checked out the video. Agree - I Want My County Back! :)