While we're on the topic of required reading (and while I'm getting cheap and easy posts off the brilliance of others), allow me to point you to the complete text of Patrick Henry's famous 1775 speech, "Give Me Liberty, or Give Me Death". While you're at it, read some background on the speech and why it was given, and see some pictures of what the gathering may have looked like.
Since I greatly fear than many of you will not go read the entire speech, allow me to quote the final paragraph.
It is in vain, sir, to extentuate the matter. Gentlemen may cry, Peace, Peace--but there is no peace. The war is actually begun! The next gale that sweeps from the north will bring to our ears the clash of resounding arms! Our brethren are already in the field! Why stand we here idle? What is it that gentlemen wish? What would they have? Is life so dear, or peace so sweet, as to be purchased at the price of chains and slavery? Forbid it, Almighty God! I know not what course others may take; but as for me, give me liberty or give me death!Many in his audience were loath to take up arms and fight, but after his challenge what man could remain impassive and unmoved?