Richmond, Virginia — The American South (Mid-Atlantic)
St. John’s Church
“Give me liberty or give me death!”
— Patrick Henry, March 23, 1775 —
The colony of Virginia held five conventions to organize its protests against Great Britain. St. John’s Church became famous as a memorial to American liberty when over 100 Virginia colonial leaders, including Patrick Henry, George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Richard Henry Lee, and Peyton Randolph, met in the church as elected delegates to the Second Virginia Convention. Patrick Henry delivered his famous speech in support of liberty on March 23, 1775 as he defended his resolution to put the colony into a state of defense. His oration sparked the fire of revolution in the colony. Henry’s timely resolutions passed by a narrow margin and he became a visionary the following month when shots were fired at Lexington and Concord.
Patrick Henry (May 29, 1736 – June 6, 1799) was the leading Virginia statesman in defending the rights of Colonial America.
Following Henry's death, John Adams wrote to Thomas Jefferson singing his praises: “In the Congress of 1774 there was not one member, except Patrick Henry, who appeared to me sensible of the Precipice or rather the Pinnacle on which he stood, and had the candour and courage enough to acknowledge it.”
Henry was the first elected governor of Virginia, a devoted father of 17 children, and the most famous orator of his day. Born in Hanover County, Henry made a name for himself as a young lawyer in the Parsons’ Cause at Hanover Courthouse in 1763. His 1765 resolutions against the Stamp Act articulated the basic principles of the American Revolution. Henry is perhaps best known for his immortal words “Give me liberty or give me death,” which he delivered during the Second Virginia Convention in a speech to fellow delegates George Washington and Thomas Jefferson at St. John’s Church in 1775. His
Known as the “Voice of the Revolution,” Henry’s political career included 26 years of service in the Virginia legislature and five terms as governor. He helped draft the Virginia Constitution of 1776 and its Declaration of Rights. A leading critic of the U.S. Constitution, Henry also strongly influenced the creation of the Bill of Rights. Following his death, Henry was buried at Red Hill Plantation, now the site of the Patrick Henry National Memorial.
Erected 2010 by The Road to Revolution Heritage Trail. (Marker Number 8.)
Topics and series. This historical marker is listed in these topic lists: Churches & Religion • Colonial Era • Patriots & Patriotism • War, US Revolutionary. In addition, it is included in the Former U.S. Presidents: #02 John Adams, and the Former U.S. Presidents: #03 Thomas Jefferson series lists. A significant historical year for this entry is 1775.
Location. 37° 31.913′ N, 77° 25.174′ W. Marker is in Richmond, Virginia. Marker can be reached from the intersection of East Broad Street and North 24th Street. Touch for map. Marker is at or near this postal address: 2401 East Broad Street, Richmond VA 23223, United States of America. Touch for directions.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are Welcome to Historic St. John’s Church (a few steps from this marker); Saint John’s Episcopal Church (a few steps from this marker); British Invasion of Richmond, January 1781 (within shouting distance of this marker); George Wythe (within shouting distance of this marker); World War II Memorial (about 300 feet away, measured in a direct line); Burton-Farrar House (about 300 feet away); 2307 E. Broad Street (about 300 feet away); Ann Carrington House (about 400 feet away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Richmond.
More about this marker. On the left is a photo of "St. John’s Church in Spring Courtesy of St. John’s Church Foundation". In the center is a period photo of "St. John’s Church in 1865 Courtesy of Library of Congress". On the right is a photo with the caption,"Actors portray George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, and Patrick Henry Courtesy of St. John’s Church Foundation".
Also see . . . St. John’s Church. (Submitted on July 5, 2010, by Bernard Fisher of Richmond, Virginia.)
Credits. This page was last revised on July 30, 2020. It was originally submitted on July 5, 2010, by Bernard Fisher of Richmond, Virginia. This page has been viewed 1,590 times since then and 24 times this year. It was the Marker of the Week March 20, 2011. Photos: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6. submitted on July 5, 2010, by Bernard Fisher of Richmond, Virginia.