Patrick Henry and the Virginia Convention
“Give me liberty or give me death” is not the grand public speech arguing for liberty that we find in the popular press and our childhood history lessons. The meeting of the Virginia Convention that he addressed was held in Richmond. Not the Richmond we anachronistically know as the capital of Virginia or the Confederacy. The colonial capital at this time was 55 miles to the east in Williamsburg and the colonial governor had already threatened to hold them accountable for treason. The meeting was in Richmond, not because of its prominence, but because it was isolated and remote. It was a frontier town of 600 people located two days travel from Williamsburg. The gathering was held at St. John’s church not because it was a prominent public place (it is a white church at the top of the highest elevation in Richmond and it dominates it’s Churchhill neighborhood). It was chosen because it was the only building in the area that would hold more than 100 people.