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Live Free Or Die

August 31, 2010

I saw “Live Free or Die” on the license plates as I was taken out last night to celebrate my 40th birthday at the turn of midnight.

Live Free or Die” is the official motto of the U.S. state of New Hampshire, adopted by the state in 1945.[1] It is possibly the best-known of all state mottos, partly because it speaks to an assertive independence historically found in American political philosophy and partly because of its contrast to the milder sentiments found in other state mottos.

The phrase 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. Instead, he sent his toast by letter:

Live free or die: Death is not the worst of evils.
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