On July 31, 1809, General John Stark made a toast to his troops in which he wrote the words “Live Free or Die, Death is Not the Greatest of Evils”.
Since 1945, the great state of New Hampshire has used the first part of the Revolutionary War hero’s stirring words as its state motto, which appears on the state quarter and on the state’s license plates. But now that the state has celebrated the 200th anniversary of the phrase, state leaders are talking about getting rid of it.
Indeed, the Governor’s Task Force for the Recruitment and Retention of a Young Workforce for the State of New Hampshire reports that the state motto “doesn’t connect with [the] demographic” and that “the Live Free Or Die motto is prohibitive to what young people are looking for in their home community“. It complains that the motto portrays an “unfriendly message“, makes the state out to be a cold and harsh place, and sends “an unfriendly message that every individual has to succeed on their own, rather than count on a support system for assistance“.
Golly, how horrible it would be if people were expected to stand on their own two feet! How heartless!
Those interested in preserving the state’s motto might be interested in checking out the Live Free or Die Alliance which will attempt to encourage “civil engagement” and explore the meaning behind the motto and the state’s libertarian tradition.