Patrick Henry, "Give Me Liberty or Give Me Death" 63 words

Perhaps the ultimate call to arms, Patrick Henry's speech makes a case for the inevitability of the American Revolution. On March 23, 1775 Virginian patriots met at St. John’s Church in Richmond to discuss support for fellow colonists in Massachusetts where Parliament had sent four regiments of troops. Leading the call for Virginian’s to act was Patrick Henry. In proposing that Virginia prepare itself to fight he delivered an emotional speech ending with his immortal words, “Give me liberty or give me death!”
  1. patriotism
    love of country and willingness to sacrifice for it
    No man, Mr. President, thinks more highly than I do of the patriotism, as well as abilities, of the very worthy gentlemen who have just addressed the House.
  2. entertain
    take into consideration, have in view
    But different men often see the same subject in different lights; and, therefore, I hope it will not be thought disrespectful to those gentlemen if, entertaining as I do opinions of a character very opposite to theirs, I shall speak forth my sentiments freely and without reserve.
  3. sentiment
    a personal belief or judgment that is not founded on proof or certainty
    But different men often see the same subject in different lights; and, therefore, I hope it will not be thought disrespectful to those gentlemen if, entertaining as I do opinions of a character very opposite to theirs, I shall speak forth my sentiments freely and without reserve.
  4. reserve
    something kept back or saved for future use or a special purpose
    But different men often see the same subject in different lights; and, therefore, I hope it will not be thought disrespectful to those gentlemen if, entertaining as I do opinions of a character very opposite to theirs, I shall speak forth my sentiments freely and without reserve.
  5. ceremony
    the proper or conventional behavior on some solemn occasion
    This is no time for ceremony.
  6. proportion
    balance among the parts of something
    For my own part, I consider it as nothing less than a question of freedom or slavery; and in proportion to the magnitude of the subject ought to be the freedom of the debate.
  7. magnitude
    relative importance
    For my own part, I consider it as nothing less than a question of freedom or slavery; and in proportion to the magnitude of the subject ought to be the freedom of the debate.
  8. offense
    a lack of politeness; a failure to show regard for others; wounding the feelings or others
    Should I keep back my opinions at such a time, through fear of giving offense, I should consider myself as guilty of treason towards my country, and of an act of disloyalty toward the Majesty of Heaven, which I revere above all earthly kings.
  9. treason
    an act of deliberate betrayal
    Should I keep back my opinions at such a time, through fear of giving offense, I should consider myself as guilty of treason towards my country, and of an act of disloyalty toward the Majesty of Heaven, which I revere above all earthly kings.
  10. revere
    regard with feelings of respect and reverence; consider hallowed or exalted or be in awe of
    Should I keep back my opinions at such a time, through fear of giving offense, I should consider myself as guilty of treason towards my country, and of an act of disloyalty toward the Majesty of Heaven, which I revere above all earthly kings.
  11. indulge
    yield (to); give satisfaction to
    Henry is saying that it is normal for people to yield to or give in to false hopes.
    Mr. President, it is natural to man to indulge in the illusions of hope.
  12. illusion
    something many people believe that is false
    Mr. President, it is natural to man to indulge in the illusions of hope.
  13. siren
    a woman who is considered to be dangerously seductive
    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.
  14. arduous
    taxing to the utmost; testing powers of endurance
    Is this the part of wise men, engaged in a great and arduous struggle for liberty?
  15. temporal
    of this earth or world
    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?
  16. anguish
    extreme distress of body or mind
    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.
  17. conduct
    (behavioral attributes) the way a person behaves toward other people
    And judging by the past, I wish to know what there has been in the conduct of the British ministry for the last ten years to justify those hopes with which gentlemen have been pleased to solace themselves and the House.
  18. ministry
    a government department under the direction of a minister
    And judging by the past, I wish to know what there has been in the conduct of the British ministry for the last ten years to justify those hopes with which gentlemen have been pleased to solace themselves and the House.
  19. solace
    comfort in disappointment or misery
    And judging by the past, I wish to know what there has been in the conduct of the British ministry for the last ten years to justify those hopes with which gentlemen have been pleased to solace themselves and the House.
  20. insidious
    working or spreading in a hidden and usually injurious way
    Is it that insidious smile with which our petition has been lately received?
  21. petition
    write a petition for something to somebody; request formally and in writing
    Is it that insidious smile with which our petition has been lately received?
  22. gracious
    characterized by kindness and warm courtesy especially of a king to his subjects
    Ask yourselves how this gracious reception of our petition comports with those warlike preparations which cover our waters and darken our land.
  23. reception
    the manner in which something is greeted
    Ask yourselves how this gracious reception of our petition comports with those warlike preparations which cover our waters and darken our land.
  24. comport
    behave in a certain manner
    Ask yourselves how this gracious reception of our petition comports with those warlike preparations which cover our waters and darken our land.
  25. reconciliation
    the reestablishing of cordial relations
    Are fleets and armies necessary to a work of love and reconciliation?
  26. deceive
    be false to; be dishonest with
    Let us not deceive ourselves, sir.
  27. subjugation
    the act of conquering
    These are the implements of war and subjugation; the last arguments to which kings resort.
  28. resort
    have recourse to
    Shall we resort to entreaty and humble supplication?
  29. martial
    suggesting war or military life
    I ask gentlemen, sir, what means this martial array, if its purpose be not to force us to submission?
  30. array
    an impressive display
    I ask gentlemen, sir, what means this martial array, if its purpose be not to force us to submission?
  31. submission
    the act of submitting; usually surrendering power to another
    I ask gentlemen, sir, what means this martial array, if its purpose be not to force us to submission?
  32. accumulation
    the act of accumulating
    Henry was referring to Parliament's actions that included sending troops under General Thomas Gage to Boston.
    Has Great Britain any enemy, in this quarter of the world, to call for all this accumulation of navies and armies?
  33. vain
    unproductive of success
    Fruitless and futile are synonyms of vain.
    We have held the subject up in every light of which it is capable; but it has been all in vain.
  34. entreaty
    earnest or urgent request
    Shall we resort to entreaty and humble supplication?
  35. humble
    marked by meekness or modesty; not arrogant or prideful
    Shall we resort to entreaty and humble supplication?
  36. beseech
    ask for or request earnestly
    Let us not, I beseech you, sir, deceive ourselves.
  37. avert
    prevent the occurrence of; prevent from happening
    Sir, we have done everything that could be done to avert the storm which is now coming on.
  38. remonstrate
    present and urge reasons in opposition
    We have petitioned; we have remonstrated; we have supplicated; we have prostrated ourselves before the throne, and have implored its interposition to arrest the tyrannical hands of the ministry and Parliament.
  39. supplicate
    ask humbly (for something)
    We have petitioned; we have remonstrated; we have supplicated; we have prostrated ourselves before the throne, and have implored its interposition to arrest the tyrannical hands of the ministry and Parliament.
  40. prostrate
    throw down flat, as on the ground
    We have petitioned; we have remonstrated; we have supplicated; we have prostrated ourselves before the throne, and have implored its interposition to arrest the tyrannical hands of the ministry and Parliament.
  41. implore
    call upon in supplication; entreat
    We have petitioned; we have remonstrated; we have supplicated; we have prostrated ourselves before the throne, and have implored its interposition to arrest the tyrannical hands of the ministry and Parliament.
  42. tyrannical
    marked by unjust severity or arbitrary behavior
    We have petitioned; we have remonstrated; we have supplicated; we have prostrated ourselves before the throne, and have implored its interposition to arrest the tyrannical hands of the ministry and Parliament.
  43. parliament
    a legislative assembly in certain countries
    Parliament is the proper name of the British law making body.
    We have petitioned; we have remonstrated; we have supplicated; we have prostrated ourselves before the throne, and have implored its interposition to arrest the tyrannical hands of the ministry and Parliament.
  44. remonstrance
    the act of expressing earnest opposition or protest
    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!
  45. spurn
    reject with contempt
    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!
  46. contempt
    lack of respect accompanied by a feeling of intense dislike
    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!
  47. inestimable
    beyond calculation or measure
    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, and which we have pledged ourselves never to abandon until the glorious object of our contest shall be obtained — we must fight!
  48. pledge
    promise solemnly and formally
    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, and which we have pledged ourselves never to abandon until the glorious object of our contest shall be obtained — we must fight!
  49. appeal
    earnest or urgent request
    An appeal to arms and to the God of hosts is all that is left us!
  50. formidable
    inspiring fear
    They tell us, sir, that we are weak; unable to cope with so formidable an adversary.
  51. adversary
    someone who offers opposition
    Enemy or opponent are synonyms for adversary.
    They tell us, sir, that we are weak; unable to cope with so formidable an adversary.
  52. effectual
    producing or capable of producing an intended result or having a striking effect
    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?
  53. delusive
    inappropriate to reality or facts
    Misleading is a synonym for delusive.
    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?
  54. phantom
    something apparently sensed but having no physical reality
    Henry is using sarcasm or irony. He is asking if Virginians should continue to hug or hold on to unreal hope until Parliament has tied them up.
    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?
  55. invincible
    incapable of being overcome or subdued
    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.
  56. preside
    act as president
    Governs and oversees are synonyms for presides
    There is a just God who presides over the destinies of nations, and who will raise up friends to fight our battles for us.
  57. vigilant
    carefully observant or attentive; on the lookout for possible danger
    Attentive and alert are synonyms for vigilant.
    The battle, sir, is not to the strong alone; it is to the vigilant, the active, the brave.
  58. base
    having or showing an ignoble lack of honor or morality
    If we were base enough to desire it, it is now too late to retire from the contest.
  59. inevitable
    incapable of being avoided or prevented
    The war is inevitable — and let it come!
  60. extenuate
    lessen or to try to lessen the seriousness or extent of
    It is in vain, sir, to extenuate the matter.
  61. gale
    a strong wind moving 45-90 knots; force 7 to 10 on Beaufort scale
    Storm is a synonym for gale. Henry is using gale as a metaphor for the threat of fighting with Britain. Just as a thunderstorm brings a clash of thunder war brings a clash of arms.
    The next gale that sweeps from the north will bring to our ears the clash of resounding arms!
  62. brethren
    (plural) the lay members of a male religious order
    Brothers is a synonym for brethren. Henry is talking about the people of Massachusetts as the brothers of Virginians.
    Our brethren are already in the field!
  63. idle
    not in action or at work
    Why stand we here idle?