"Live Free or Die®"
As the first state to declare independence from Great Britain and adopt a revolutionary constitution ratified by its people, New Hampshire’s Live Free or Die tradition is at the granite foundation of what makes our state such an extraordinary place to live, raise a family, and conduct business.
First written two centuries ago as a toast by General John Stark to mark the anniversary of the Battle of Bennington, the phrase, “Live free or die: Death is not the worst of evils,” has become synonymous with New Hampshire’s legacy of self-government, engaged citizenship, and fierce community pride. So much so that in 1945, “Live Free or Die” was adopted as New Hampshire’s official motto. In the decades since, it has become perhaps the best known of all state mottos, speaking to the independent spirit so ingrained in American political philosophy.
"Live Free or Die" means that we, as citizens of New Hampshire, have an opportunity to speak our minds and have a voice in the actions of our communities and government. This freedom carries with it great responsibility to our community, our state, and our nation.
The seeds of Citizens Count (formerly known as "The Live Free or Die Alliance") were planted at the turn of the millenium, as several of the state’s business, civic, and cultural leaders began noticing a marked drop in the amount of time and interest their fellow citizens were willing or able to invest in state and local affairs. Nowadays, legislative activity in our state has skyrocketed. A New Hampshire Legislature that used to review 500 to 600 laws every two years, now reviews more than 1,000 each and every year, most with little if any citizen involvement. Concerned about the impact this shift could have on future generations, these men and women began to meet and exchange ideas for helping to recruit and reignite public involvement.
After several years, there emerged both a consensus and the framework for an organization that could provide New Hampshire citizens with a modern, dynamic forum for learning and talking about the public policies affecting their state and communities – a way to spark new discussion and to help citizens once again influence the issues central to their lives and their families.
Citizens Count was officially born in 2008 as The Live Free or Die Alliance. It was founded by a broad spectrum of New Hampshire citizens from every region of the state and every political persuasion, the common thread among these people being the desire to reduce partisanship and engage New Hampshire citizens. Some of the key and early founders were Paul and Sandra Montrone, Anna Grace and Paul Holloway, and Fred and Donna Seigel, and their personal financial commitments along with others helped fund our launch. (Visit our Donors page for more information).
Citizens Count was created to serve New Hampshire citizens and provide a contemporary, interactive forum for learning and talking about issues affecting our state and communities – an innovative, streamlined version of the town hall debates that have endured here for centuries. It also provides powerful tools to connect New Hampshire citizens to their elected officials, offering links to government officials and committees as well as instructions for communicating with New Hampshire government officials effectively. In addition, we efficiently share member views with government officials, ultimately forging a new relationship between citizens and their elected officials.
Through these efforts, we hope to spark renewed interest in the issues and the civic engagement that has always characterized the great state of New Hampshire.