Paired Texts > "Give Me Liberty or Give Me Death" Speech
We've identified these texts as great options for text pairings based on similar themes, literary devices, topic, or writing style. Supplement your lesson with one or more of these options and challenge students to compare and contrast the texts. To assign a paired text, click on the text to go to its page and click the "Assign Text" button there.
In this 1787 letter, Jefferson writes to a friend about Shays' Rebellion, an armed uprising that took place in Massachusetts because of increasing dissatisfaction with State and Federal government. He argues that rebellion is necessary for the preservation of democratic societies.Pair “Thomas Jefferson on Shay’s Rebellion” with the “Give Me Liberty or Give Me Death” speech and ask students to compare these documents. How does each author treat the subject of rebellion? How does perspective and situation influence each of their views?
In "I am the people, the mob," Carl Sandburg showcases the power of collective protest to incite change.Pair “I am the people, the mob” with the “Give Me Liberty or Give Me Death” speech and ask students to discuss themes of revolution and action in both pieces. How does each text portray the power of the common man?
"A Quest for Change in the Middle East" offers details, historical context, and insight into the events of the Arab Spring.Pair Patrick Henry’s famous “Give Me Liberty or Give Me Death” speech with “A Quest for Change in the Middle East” and ask students to compare the themes of the two pieces. How do we know when we are not being treated fairly? When, if ever, is it acceptable to resort to violence in an attempt to restore one’s rights? The Arab Spring was characterized by concerted efforts by numerous young people, including many students, to communicate their message to as many people as possible via the Internet. How, if at all, is the underlying impulse behind these efforts mirrored in the nature of Henry’s speech?
In "The Declaration of Independence," representatives from the 13 American colonies declare their independence from Great Britain.Pair the "Give Me Liberty or Give Me Death" speech with “The Declaration of Independence” and ask students to reflect on why the thirteen colonies decided to break away from the British Empire. What values did people like Jefferson and Patrick Henry hold dear, according to these texts?
In "The Road to American Independence," the text recounts the major events that led the American colonies to victory in the Revolutionary War and independence from Great Britain.Pair “'Give Me Liberty or Give Me Death' Speech” with “The Road to American Independence” and ask students to discuss the relationship between Great Britain and the American colonies as described in both texts. How did the colonists view this relationship? What grievances, as mentioned in “The Road to American Revolution,” are further explained in the speech? What key points do they share?
In "A Participant's First-Hand Account of the Boston Tea Party," George Hewes explains what led to the famous event, and a first-hand account of what happened.Pair “A Participant’s First-Hand Account of the Boston Tea Party” with “'Give Me Liberty or Give Me Death' Speech” and ask students to compare and contrast how the authors treat the subject of rebellion.
This text describes the main forms of government in ancient Greek city-states: democracy, oligarchy, monarchy, and tyranny. It also details how public officials play a role in government.Pair “Greek Government” with “'Give Me Liberty or Give Me Death' Speech” and ask students to discuss why democracy emerges. Ask students to compare the revolutionary ideas regarding tyranny in Henry’s speech to the revolutionary ideas of democracy in ancient Greece.
In this historical document from 1790, Founding Father, Benjamin Franklin, argues that slavery must be abolished in the United States.Pair “Petition from the Pennsylvania Society for the Abolition of Slavery” with “'Give Me Liberty or Give Me Death' Speech” and ask students how the ideas expressed by Patrick Henry reflect the ideals of early American government that Franklin discusses. How does this provide context to the assertion that slavery is out of character of the American people? What characteristics of America does Henry’s speech reveal? How does slavery contradict this? Should the government have ended slavery solely on religious or moral terms as mentioned in Franklin’s letter? Why or why not? Use evidence from each text to support your answers.