Give me Liberty...

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Patrick Henry "Give me Liberty..."

This article on the famous Give me Liberty speech by Patrick Henry provides fast facts and information about the speech, rhetorical devices and strategies including ethos, pathos, imagery and metaphors.

  • Facts about when and where the Give me Liberty speech was delivered
  • Patrick Henry (1736-1739) was the great American orator  and Patriot, one of the Founding Fathers of America
  • Short analysis of the speech and  to the words "Give me Liberty...or give me Death!"
  • Examples of Rhetorical Devices and Strategies in the Give me Liberty speech
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Give me Liberty Speech
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"Give me Liberty or Give me Death!"

On March, 23 1775 Patrick Henry delivered his famous speech which ended with the immortal words:

"Give me liberty or give me death!"

The words "Give me Liberty" are known to millions of people. They may not know the reasons why they were said but they resound strongly with all people of all different nationalities who value freedom. 

Facts about the "Give me Liberty" Speech
Facts about the Give me Liberty speech are as follows:

Facts about the "Give me Liberty" Speech

Give me Liberty Fact 1Delivered by the American Patriot, Patrick Henry
 
 

 

 

St John's Church exterior

Give me Liberty Fact 2The date the speech was delivered was March 23, 1775
 
Give me Liberty Fact 3

The Place: St. John’s Church, Richmond, Virginia - the governor of Virginia had prevented the House of Burgesses from meeting at Williamsburg. St. John's Church was the only building in Richmond suitable to hold 100 delegates.
 

Give me Liberty Fact 4

The speech was made during a political meeting to the Virginia Convention
 

Give me Liberty Fact 5

The Burgesses moved to Raleigh Tavern to continue meeting
 

Give me Liberty Fact 6

Among the delegates to the convention were future American Presidents George Washington and Thomas Jefferson
 

St John's Church interior

Give me Liberty Fact 7

Patrick Henry was calling on the patriots to arm themselves in order to fight the British if the demands of the convention were ignored
 

Give me Liberty Fact 8

The tone of the speech was urgent, inflammatory, persuasive and motivational
 

Give me Liberty Fact 9

The text of the speech was first published in 1816 in the 'Life and Character of Patrick Henry' by William Wirt - it was based on an account by Judge St. George Tucker
 

Give me Liberty Fact 10

William Wirt compared Patrick Henry with the Roman statesman Cato who supported Republicanism in opposition to the dictatorship of Julius Caesar
 

The Meaning behind the words of Give me Liberty...
The speech of Patrick Henry was delivered to the convention who were divided two opposing points of view. Patrick Henry sided with the men who wanted immediate action to raise a militia and to put Virginia in a position of defence. The opposition was urging caution and patience until the British replied to the latest petition for reconciliation from the Congress. Patrick Henry afforded and addressed the opposition with due respect.

Short Analysis of Give me Liberty...
In his speech he emphasizes his view that there is a need to fight for truth and God's purpose. His "Give me Liberty or give me Death!" speech is based on his belief that the alternative to fighting is slavery (meaning British rule). He believes that fighting for freedom is a responsibility of God and country, he aligns God on the side of the colonists. He is respectful towards King George III but that God is the ultimate authority. He believes that the view of the opposition is based on false hope in that the British will work for the good of the colonists and that this hope will lead to betrayal "spurned with contempt from the foot of the throne". He then makes reference to additional British troops that the British have sent to America and their "warlike preparations". Patrick Henry then makes an urgent call to arms "The war is inevitable - and let it come!"

Give me Liberty - There can be no compromise
Patrick Henry ends his speech with the immortal words:

"Give me liberty or give me death!"

He is equating death with slavery under British rule. He is saying very clearly that there can be no compromise.

Rhetorical Devices used in the Give me Liberty Speech
Rhetorical Devices are used in the  "Give me Liberty or give me Death!" speech. Rhetorical Devices are patterns of ideas and words that stir emotions, create emphasis by repetition and are highly persuasive. Repetition is a Rhetorical Device using the same words. Restatement uses the same idea but different words. Parallelism, gives two or more parts of the sentences a similar form so as to give the whole a definite pattern. Rhetorical Question, asking a question with an obvious answer.

Rhetorical Strategies used in the Give me Liberty Speech
Rhetorical Strategies are used in the  "Give me Liberty or give me Death!" speech. Patrick Henry persuades by pathos, ethos, metaphor, allusion, imagery, logos (logic) to express the themes of freedom, equality, and independence. A combination of Rhetorical Devices and Strategies used in "Give me Liberty or give me Death!" speech results in highly persuasive, motivational and emotional words and ideas producing an extremely powerful speech.

Examples of Rhetorical Devices in the Give me Liberty Speech
Rhetorical Devices are used in the  "Give me Liberty or give me Death!" speech include:

Examples of Rhetorical Devices in the Give me Liberty Speech

Example of Repetition"The war is inevitable--and let it come! I repeat it, sir, let it come."
 
Example of Repetition“We must fight! I repeat it, sir, we must fight!”
 
Example of Restatement

"If we wish to be free--if we mean to preserve inviolate those inestimable privileges for which we have been so long contending..."
 

Example of Parallelism

"We have petitioned; we have remonstrated; we have supplicated; we have prostrated ourselves before the throne."
 

Example of Rhetorical Question "Are fleets and armies necessary to a work of love and reconciliation?"
 
Example of Parallelism

"Our petitions have been slighted; our remonstrances have produced additional violence and insult; our supplications have been disregarded”
 

Example of Parallelism

“If we wish to be free-- if we mean to preserve inviolate those inestimable privileges for which we have been so long contending--if we mean not basely to abandon the noble struggle in which we have been so long engaged”
 

Example of ParallelismParallelism: "Give me Liberty or give me Death!"
 

Examples of Rhetorical Devices in the Give me Liberty Speech

Examples of Rhetorical Strategies in the Give me Liberty Speech
Rhetorical Strategies are used in the  "Give me Liberty or give me Death!" speech. Patrick Henry persuades by pathos, ethos, metaphor, allusion, imagery, logos (logic) to express the themes of freedom, equality, and independence.

Examples of Rhetorical Strategies in the Give me Liberty Speech

Example of Metaphor in Give me Liberty

 

"I have but one lamp by which my feet are guided, and that is the lamp of experience."
 

Example of Metaphor in Give me Liberty

“Trust it not, sir; it will prove a snare to your feet.”
 

Example of Metaphor in Give me Liberty“Sir, we have done everything that could be done to avert the storm which is now coming on.
 
Example of Allusion (Biblical Allusion to Judas betraying Jesus) in Give me Liberty
 
"Suffer not yourselves to be betrayed with a kiss."
 
Example of Appeal to ethos (credibility) in Give me Liberty“No man thinks more highly than I do of the patriotism, as well as abilities, of the very worthy gentlemen who have just addressed the House.”
 
Example of Appeal to ethos (morals) in Give me Liberty

“Guilty of treason towards my country, and of an act of disloyalty toward the Majesty of Heaven, which I revere above all earthly kings.”
 

Example of Appeal to ethos in Give me Liberty
 
“Let us not, I beseech you, sir, deceive ourselves.”
 
Example of Imagery in Give me Liberty

“...have implored its interposition to arrest the tyrannical hands of the ministry and Parliament.”
 

Example of Imagery in Give me Liberty"Our chains are forged!"
 
Example of Appeal to Logos (logic) in Give me Liberty

“Besides, sir, we have no election. If we were base enough to desire it, it is now too late to retire from the contest."
 

Example of Appeal to Logos (Logic) in Give me Liberty
 
“I know of no way of judging of the future but by the past.”
 
Example of Exclamatory Sentence in Give me Liberty
 

“The war is actually begun!”
 

Example of Exclamatory Sentence in Give me Liberty
 

“We have been spurned, with contempt, from the foot of the throne!”
 

Example of Powerful Comparison in Give me Liberty
 

“Freedom or slavery”
 

Example of Appeal to Pathos (Religion)

“Sir, we are not weak if we make a proper use of those means which the God of nature hath placed in our power. The 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.”
 

Examples of Rhetorical Strategies in the Give me Liberty Speech

Colonial America - The Land of the Brave

 

Declaration of Independence

Give me Liberty - The Declaration of Independence

Give me Liberty...
This article about the Give me Liberty speech by Patrick Henry provides facts and information about the delivery and content of the speech.

The Rhetorical Devices and strategies of the speech are also detailed providing examples of:

  • Appeal to Pathos
  • Appeal to Ethos
  • Powerful Comparison
  • Appeal to Logos (logic)
  • Imagery
  • Allusion
  • Metaphor
  • Parallelism
  • Repetition
  • Restatement
 

Give me Liberty

  • Meaning and Definition of the Give me Liberty
  • History of the Give me Liberty of 1765
  • Fast Facts and info about Give me Liberty
  • The Give me Liberty article is a great history resource for kids
  • Social Studies Homework help for kids on the Give me Liberty of 1765

Colonial America - The Land of the Brave

 

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