Wednesday, February 4, 2009

The Real Origin of Live Free or Die

According to Wikipedia, New Hampshire's motto comes from...

...a toast written by General John Stark on July 31, 1809. Poor health forced Stark, New Hampshire's most famous soldier of the American Revolutionary War, to decline an invitation to an anniversary reunion of the Battle of Bennington and to send his toast by letter.
Stark, I argue, adopted the phrase from the Terror of the French Revolution. In Paris during this time, flags flew with the inscription: "UNITE ET INDIVISIBILITE DE LA REPUBLIQUE, LIBERTI, EGALITE, FREATERNITE, OU LA MORT." In English, it's: unity and indivisibility of the republic, liberty, equality, fraternity or death." Safe to say that's an intricate version of "live free or die."

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