US Coins

This Day in History: March 23, 1775

Patrick Henry delivered his famous “Give me liberty of give me death” speech on March 23, 1775, an event honored on a medal issued for the American Bicentennial in 1976.

Medal images courtesy of Julian Leidman, eBay ID Juliancoin.

Patrick Henry was an attorney, planter and politician whose oratory and actions elevated him to statesman.

On March 23, 1775, Henry gave his famous speech in Richmond, Va., demanding “Give me liberty or give me death.”

Henry was born May 29, 1736, and died June 6, 1799. A Founding Father, he served as the first and sixth post-colonial governor of Virginia, from 1776 to 1779 and from 1784 to 1786.

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As the drums of war were sounding, the Second Virginia Convention met at St. John’s Episcopal Church in Richmond, instead of the capitol in Williamsburg.

After three days of discussion, Henry presented a proposal to organize a volunteer company of cavalry or infantry in every Virginia county, reportedly closing with his famous line.

Besides his impassioned plea for liberty, Henry is known as a leader of the opposition to the Stamp Act of 1765. 

To mark the American Revolution, the American Bicentennial Commemorative Society issued a series of 76 medals, including one showing the pivotal proclamation. 


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