American Revolution - Highlights - COLONISTS REBEL

COLONISTS REBEL (Illustration) American History Famous Historical Events Law and Politics Social Studies Revolutionary Wars Famous People Visual Arts American Revolution

Currier & Ives created this lithograph, circa 1876, to commemorate the 100th anniversary of America’s independence from Britain. The Library of Congress, which maintains an original of this illustration, provides its full description:  "Give me liberty, or give me death!" Patrick Henry delivering his great speech on the rights of the colonies, before the Virginia Assembly, convened at Richmond, March 23rd 1775, concluding with the above sentiment, which became the war cry of the revolution.


Within months of his arrival as the new Royal Governor, General Gage seized the arsenal of weapons Massachusetts had accumulated in Charlestown. As tensions mounted between the Crown and the colonies, the First Continental Congress assembled in Philadelphia between September 5 and October 26, 1774.

Members of the new Congress prayed for wisdom. Days later the delegates declared their opposition to the Coercive (Intolerable) Acts, stating they are "not to be obeyed." By October 14th, representatives had passed a Declaration and Resolves which included these famous words:

...to these grievous acts and measures,
Americans cannot submit...

With the Crown unwilling to compromise, and the colonies desiring independence, war seemed inevitable.

  • By February 1, 1775, John Hancock and Joseph Warren began preparations for a state of war between the colony of Massachusetts and the Crown.
  • Within a week, Parliament declared Massachusetts in a state of rebellion.

Give me liberty or give me death!

Death, in fact, was waiting for ten patriots in the town of Lexington, Massachusetts as "The Horse America" took the first steps to "throw his master."

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Author: Carole D. Bos, J.D. 5190stories and lessons created

Original Release: Oct 07, 2013

Updated Last Revision: May 05, 2016

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