Give Me Liberty or Give Me Death Speech Patrick Henry Themes
THE NATURE OF TRUE PATRIOTISM
THE NECESSITY OF COURAGE
THE IMPORTANCE OF SACRIFICE
THE CHOICE OF FREEDOM OR SLAVERY
Many considered talk of breaking with England to be unpatriotic and anyone unwilling to compromise to be a traitor. For Henry, the calls to maintain ties with the homeland are unpatriotic. He believes it comes down to whether or not the colonies will be free, or slaves to England.
Henry addresses the fear of war and change. He says that there are three million people, armed with the holy cause of liberty, which makes them invincible. They are armed, the full force of the British army is not yet on their shores. If they do not find courage now, they will be be ruled by fear instead.
Henry lays out the methods the colonists have tried. Each time, they have been slighted, insulted, and spurned by the King. If the colonists mean to be free, they must fight. Fighting involves sacrifice, but it is for a greater cause. If they don’t, they will be purchasing the chains of slavery.
Henry makes one thing perfectly clear: there is no more room for compromise. The people must “choose” freedom or slavery. By their inaction, they “choose” to be slaves: England will send their full army over to disarm the colonists. By fighting and sacrificing their lives, they can choose freedom.