In his 1775 speech to the Virginia Convention, Henry uses an extended metaphor to characterize the need for the colonies to separate from Britain; to him, "it is a question of freedom or slavery." To Henry, freedom for the colonies meant the ability to trade freely without Britain's involvement, not to be taxed by them, not to be subjugated through the threat of military force, and for the colonies to create their own laws. To answer to a sovereign was, to Henry, akin to enslavement.
It is clear that Henry did not accept the concept of a monarchy. He says, pointedly, near the beginning of the speech that he reveres God above all earthly kings--and that "war and subjugation" are the "last arguments to which kings resort." Henry did not believe in the divine right of kings to rule; he believed in the equality of human beings and had faith in their ability to organize their own governments.
Henry believed that peace would not exist in the colonies until they were free from Britain. He observes that "gentlemen may cry peace, peace--but there is no peace." Henry felt that the military aggression that Britain had already demonstrated in the colonies had compromised any hope of peaceful resolution. Henry also declared that living in peace was not an acceptable trade-off for consenting to let Britain rule the colonies.