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The American Revolution is replete with seminal moments that every American learns in school, from the "shot heard 'round the world" to the Declaration of Independence, but the events that led up to the fighting at Lexington and Concord were borne out of 10 years of division between the British and their American colonies over everything from colonial representation in governments to taxation, the nature of searches, and the quartering of British regulars in private houses. From 1764-1775, a chain of events that included lightning rods like the Townshend Acts led to bloodshed in the form of the Boston Massacre, while the Boston Tea Party became a symbol of nonviolent protest. Of course, the Revolutionary era also produced some of the most famous Americans in history, and Patrick Henry has the ironic distinction of frequently being overlooked in comparison to his contemporaries while also being remembered for speaking one of the most famous lines in American history despite the fact he may never have actually said it. When Henry famously cried out "Give me liberty or give me death," he knew a surprising amount about both. He had known the liberty of running across open fields on warm Virginia mornings and of riding at breakneck speed across fields he owned. He had fought for, and won, the liberty of numerous clients he defended in Virginia's colonial courts. He had also taken the liberty of others, though for different reasons. He owned slaves and saw what it cost them to serve him each day, and he had even kept his own young wife in chains to prevent her from harming herself or one of their children.
©2017 Charles River Editors (P)2017 Charles River Editors