Live Free or Die – New Hampshire’s Famous State Motto
“Live Free Or Die” is the most well-known state motto in the USA. The phrase has been mimicked in movie titles like “Live Free or Die Hard”, amongst other things. But the real origin of “Live Free or Die” comes from New Hampshire’s rich and unique history.
Live Free or Die was part of a toast that was to be made at an anniversary reunion by General John Stark who missed the event.
The Live Free Or Die motto was adopted by the state of New Hampshire in 1945.
So how did such a strong state motto like “Live Free Or Die” come to such a small state like NH? The phrase was taken from a toast on July 31, 1809 which was written by General John Stark, a famous New Hampshire soldier of the American Revolutionary War. General John Stark was invited to an anniversary reunion for the battle of Bennington but he became ill just prior to the reunion and could not attend. In his absence, he sent his toast in a note. Part of that toast read “Live free or die: Death is not the worst of evils.” The phrase Live Free or Die was a popular phrase used during the French Revolution. In French Live Free of Die is “Vivre Libre ou Mourir.”
In 1971 the state of New Hampshire mandated that the motto must be displayed on NH license plates. In 1977 a legal battle began when a Jehovah’s Witness, George Maynard covered up the “Or Die” part of the NH state motto on his license plate. The Jehovah’s Witness religion believes in everlasting life. The court decided in his favor so now New Hampshire residents are “Free” to cover up part, or all of the state motto on their license plates.
Today, the Live Free Or Die Motto still means a lot to New Hampshire residents. We take pride in our motto and live by its words. We are one of the freest states in the US and constantly struggle to maintain that freedom. The Live Free Or Die motto is often brought up in political debates when some politicians try to take away our freedoms.
“Live Free Or Die” – NH State Motto
Live Free Or Die – Its a great way to live and a great motto!
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