On March 23, 1775, Patrick Henry
sounded one of the most famous calls to arms in American history. During a meeting of the Second Virginia Convention at St. John’s Church in Richmond, the 38-year-old lawyer and politician gave an impassioned plea urging the Old Dominion to form militias to defend itself against the British. Henry’s brief address—which closed with the incendiary line
“Give me liberty or give me death!”
— swayed the Convention in his favor, and his words became a rallying cry during the march to war that was soon to begin.