Chapter 1 - America's Freedom Faith and The Cold War

The third document is Patrick Henry’s Speech to Virginia Delegates—1775 on March 23, 1775 (a year before the Declaration of Independence) on the urgent moral and strategic necessity of standing for liberty and independence. He proclaimed that American remonstrances (protests) were illusory and British colonial actions and promises were false, while the cause of liberty was favored by God. Thus:
[Remonstrances and Illusions] The question before the House is one of awful moment to this country, . . . I consider it as nothing less than a question of freedom or slavery. . . . It is natural to man to indulge in the illusions of hope. We are apt to shut our eyes against a painful truth, and listen to the song of that siren. . . . Are [British] fleets and armies necessary to a work of love and reconciliation? Have we shown ourselves so unwilling to be reconciled that force must be called in to win back our love? Let us not deceive ourselves, . . . these are implements of war and subjugation; the last arguments to which kings resort. . . . They are sent over to bind and rivet upon us . . . chains. . . . Shall we resort to entreaty and humble supplication? . . . Let us not . . . deceive ourselves . . . Our remonstrances have produced additional violence and insult; our supplications have been disregarded. . . . In vain, after these things, may we indulge the fond hope of peace and reconciliation.
[The “Holy Cause of Liberty”] There is no longer any room for hope. If we wish to be free, . . . we must fight! . . . An appeal to arms and to the God of hosts is all that is left us!
They tell us . . . that we are weak. . . . We are not weak if we make a proper use of those means which the God of nature hath placed in our power. The millions of people, armed in the holy cause of liberty, and in such a country as that which we possess, are invincible. . . . There is a just God who presides over the destinies of nations. . . . The battle . . . is not to the strong alone; it is to the vigilant, the active, the brave. . . . There is no retreat but in submission and slavery! Our chains are forged! . . . The war is inevitable. . . . Gentlemen may cry, Peace Peace—but there is no peace. The war is actually begun! . . . 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! (headings added)3
The Declaration of Independence. The U.S. Declaration of Independence—1776 that launched the American Revolution is, along with the Constitution, one of the nation’s two supreme founding documents. Signed in Philadelphia on July 4, 1776 by fifty-six leaders of colonial America, the Declaration proclaims a forward-looking freedom revolution based on God-given “unalienable” rights and sounds an unequaled rallying cry for oppressed people everywhere.
[Laws of Nature and of Nature’s God] When in the Course of human events, it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another, and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature’s God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the Separation.
[Unalienable Rights] We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of Happiness. —That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed,—That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles, and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness. (headings added)
There follows a list of grievances against the British Colonial power and an indictment of the specific mounting usurpations by the King and Great Britain. The signatories conclude with a ringing claim to independence, the protection of Divine Providence, and their pledge of sacred honor:
[Sacred Honor] We, therefore, the Representatives of the united States of America, in General Congress, Assembled, appealing to the Supreme Judge of the world for the rectitude of our intentions, do, in the Name, and by Authority of the good People of these Colonies, solemnly publish and declare, That these United Colonies are, and of Right ought to be Free and Independent States. . . . And for the support of this Declaration, with a firm reliance on the protection of divine Providence, we mutually pledge to each other our Lives, our Fortunes, and our sacred Honor. (heading added)4
[Book pg. 6]