Give Me Liberty Or Give Me Death By Patrick Henry

Decent Essays

One of the most famous quotes to come out of the Revolutionary War is Patrick Henry’s “Give me Liberty, or Give Me Death.” This begs the question of what is liberty and does it change. A simple answer would be yes, but the how it changes and what it evolves to is the more difficult question. An example of this is when American perception of liberty shifted in a 15-year period between the Mexican War and the Civil War. In the years leading up to the Mexican American War manifest destiny was at its highest. Manifest Destiny, a thought that America has the God given right to stretch from the Atlantic to the Pacific, influenced thousands of people. This influenced individual’s perception of liberty because they believed that they had the right to settle on any land they deemed as their own. The idea of liberty shifted from manifest destiny to two very distinct ideas. There was an idea in the northern United States that African Americans have inherent rights and that whites do not have the right to own slaves. This is illustrated in how the northern population voted in the 1960 election. Lincoln was not on the ballot in the southern states meaning that the north singlehandedly voted Lincoln, a republican, into office. For the Southerners, the idea of liberty was the ability to do as they chose without interference from the government. This is evident when Lincoln was elected. A few days after the outcome of the 1860 election southern states started to secede.

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