SAT Practice Passage: Patrick Henry’s Give me Liberty or Give me Death!

On March 23, 1775, Patrick Henry gave an impassioned speech, Give me Liberty or Give me Death, to urge legislators to agree to rebellion.

The package contains the complete text of Henry’s speech along with 7 multiple choice questions. You should use these questions to determine your accuracy in understanding the text. Additionally, Reading daily will improve your vocabulary, knowledge, and comprehension.

 Give me Liberty or give me Death cover
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The speech “Give me Liberty or give me Death” is commonly taught in American schools. It shows the passion the Patriots (those who wanted to separate from Britain) had for independence. Of course, the issues were more complex than merely Britain is bad and America is good, but you just stopped here for some information on American history, didn’t you?

Patrick Henry’s “Give me Liberty”

Henry was a Virginian lawyer and politician who wanted not only independence for America but also independence for Virginia. He was also anti-Federalist. This means that he didn’t want a strong Federal government. Instead he wanted each state to operate like a mini-country that was connected to the other states in a loose way. His ideal would be closer to how the European Union functions today, only with a little less oversight.

Initially, Henry got his way. After the American Revolution, the individual states operated independently and the federal government had limited powers. But that did work for long. America as a country operated under the Articles of Confederation from 1776 or 1777 to 1789 when the current Constitution was written.

Henry’s influence on the American Constitution

The first 10 articles of the Constitution are called the Bill of Rights. These rights and freedoms reflect Henry’s views on personal and legal independence. Additionally, they are the cornerstone of American values. If you want to understand Americans, look to the Constitution.

For more SAT Reading practice download the passages below.

Cover of Emmaline Pankhurst's speech from November 13, 1913.
Cover of the short Story The Celebrated Jumping Frog of Calaveras County

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