The New Hampshire motto "Live Free or Die" stems from a letter written by General John Stark on July 31, 1809 to his son when he couldn't go to a battle reenactment due to poor health. Stark was a New Hampshire–born war hero, having served as an officer in the British army during the French and Indian War and a major general of the Continental Army during the American Revolution.
Stark led troops at the Battle of Bunker Hill and later at the Battle of Bennington, where a strategic victory earned him the nickname “the Hero of Bennington.”
Noting that he’d never forget the troops he commanded in Bennington: “They were men that had not learned the art of submission, nor had they been trained to the art of war. But our astonishing success taught the enemies of liberty that undisciplined freemen are superior to veteran slaves.” As an afterword to the letter, Stark included a brief passage to be read as a toast to the veterans: “Live free or die. Death is not the greatest of evils.”
It clearly made an impact because over 200 years later it's New Hampshire's rather based state motto.
This version of the state seal has its own story. But as you may know, it features the frigate USS Raleigh, which was one of the original ships commissioned for the Revolution.
To this day New Hampshire remains a bastion of liberty, with its people rated routinely as some of the freest in the United States.
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