On March 23, 1775, Patrick Henry delivered his famous “Liberty or Death” speech at the Second Virginia Convention, which was held at Richmond, Virginia. Although he was speaking to the delegation, he personally addressed the president of the Convention, Peyton Randolph of Williamsburg. This would be considered to be a political event.
Although Henry was known for his spontaneous oratorical skills this speech is considered to be his most enduring. While most of the delegates believed that peace with England could be maintained and wanted to wait patiently for the British Crown to answer their concerns, Patrick Henry urged the delegates to put forth a call to arms by establishing a militia in Virginia. He felt the British were already establishing their military strength in the colonies and he wanted Virginia to be prepared as he understood that the Revolutionary War was inevitable.
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!