June 15, 2013

“Give me liberty or give me death!” – or maybe a tax exemption, immortality, a Benz, or beer…


“Give me liberty or give me death!”
       Attributed to Patrick Henry (1736-1799)
       American attorney, politician and Founding Father
       According to tradition, Henry said these words at the end of a speech he made in the Virginia House of Burgesses on March 23, 1775.
       It’s true that, on that date, Henry gave an impassioned speech in favor of mobilizing the Virginia militia to fight against the British at a meeting of the Virginia House of Burgesses. But neither Henry nor anyone else wrote down what he said at the time. Forty-two years later, a posthumous biography of Henry included a “reconstructed” version of the speech, based largely on the recollection of one aging judge who’d heard it. This popular biography, written by William Wirt, was the first source to put “Give me liberty or give me death!” in Henry’s mouth. It made the quote legendary and many books and websites have republished Wirt’s recreation of the speech as if it were an actual contemporary recording of what Henry said. Modern quote scholars like Fred Shapiro, editor of The Yale Book of Quotations, and Ralph Keyes, author of The Quote Verifier, view Wirt’s version of Henry’s speech with skepticism and doubt that Henry actually uttered his famous alleged quotation. (For more background, see this post on my This Day in Quotes site.)


“Give me tax exempt 501(c)4 or give me death!”
      Matt Davies
       Pulitzer Prize-winning editorial cartoonist for Tribune Media Services and The Hearst Newspaper Group
       Caption of a June 2013 political cartoon by Davies lampooning the outrage of conservative Republicans over revelations that the IRS had challenged requests of Tea Party groups who wanted the tax exempt status supposedly reserved for organizations that are “operated exclusively for the promotion of social welfare.”


“Give Me Immortality or Give Me Death”
       The Firesign Theatre
       American comedy troupe
       Title of a Firesign album title released in 1998 by Rhino Records


“Give Me Hush Money Or Give Me Benz!!”
       Headline of a TMZ.com story about basketball star Stephon Marbury and Thurayyah Mitchell, “the personal chef he boinked, while he was married, back in 2006.”
       According to the story, Marbury had promised to pay Mitchell $900,000 to keep quiet about the affair, but stopped making payments around the $600,000 mark. Mitchell took him to court and a judge ordered him to pony up the remaining $331,584.50. When Mitchell didn’t pay up in a timely fashion, Mitchell went back to court, asking that Marbury be forced to give her his Mercedes-Benz and other assets to settle the debt.


“Americans don’t like wine. We like beer. Ice cold. Ice cold, best in a bottle, but find in any way you can get it, belching, burping, wake-up-in-a-pool-of-it beer. So let’s show them...Let’s strike a blow anywhere they dine alfresco, anywhere they eat Brie cheese, and anywhere they wear their pants up high around their waist in the European way. The only thing Americans understand is mindless Tom and Jerry cartoon violence. So, let’s go kick some elite butt. Give me beer, or give me death!”
       Al Bundy (played by actor Ed O’Neill) 
       Part of a speech Al gives in the “Chicago Wine Party” episode of the American comedy TV show Married with Children (Season 7, Ep. 7, Nov. 1, 1992)
       In this episode, he makes the speech to a group of fellow beer fans who oppose a City Council plan to increase the local tax on beer but not on wine.

*     *     *     *     *     *     *     *     *     *

Comments? Corrections? Post them on the Famous Quotations Facebook page.

Related reading: books of quotations about politics and government…

Copyrights, Disclaimers & Privacy Policy

Creative Commons License
Copyright © Subtropic Productions LLC

The Quote/Counterquote blog is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 United States License. Any duplicative or remixed use of the original text written for this blog and any exact duplications the specific sets of quotations collected for the posts shown here must include an attribution to QuoteCounterquote.com and, if online, a link to http://www.quotecounterquote.com/

To the best of our knowledge, the non-original content posted here is used in a way that is allowed under the fair use doctrine. If you own the copyright to something we've posted and think we may have violated fair use standards, please let me know.

Subtropic Productions LLC and QuoteCounterquote.com are committed to protecting your privacy. We will not sell your email address, etc. For more details, read this blog's full Privacy Policy.