On March 23, 1775, Patrick Henry solidified the cause of independence before the House of Burgesses. He exclaimed:
If we wish to be free – if we mean to preserve inviolate those inestimable privileges for which we have been so long contending – if we mean not basely to abandon the noble struggle in which we have so long engaged... we must fight! It is in vain, sir, to extenuate the matter, Gentlemen may cry, Peace, peace – but there is no peace... Our brethren are already in the field! Why stand we here idle? What is it that gentlemen wish? 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 for me, give me liberty, or give me death!