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Sarah Palin and Paul Revere

You may have heard that Sarah Palin and Paul Revere recently made the news. Sarah is on a tour of American historical sites around the Northeast and recently visited Boston's Freedom Trail, which is a series of stops related to the American Revolution. One of the stops is Paul Revere's house, which still stands in downtown Boston.

Sarah Palin

An intrepid reporter dared to ask Sarah a question about Paul Revere while she was getting something to eat. Sarah made some off the cuff remarks about Revere warning the British that the Americans were coming to stop them from taking their arms supply. She also mentioned that Revere warned the countryside of the impending British movements by the ringing of bells.

A flurry of journalists began to challenge Palin's account and ridiculed her for getting the story wrong. They said Revere wasn't sent to warn the British, but the colonists and, of course, everybody knows that Revere warned the countryside with lanterns in the church tower, not with bells, right?

Well, luckily for Ms. Palin, the journalists are wrong. Paul Revere did indeed go to warn the colonists that the British were coming, but on the way he was captured by a British patrol. With a gun to his head, he warned the soldiers that a mass of colonists were coming, bearing arms, to stop them from taking their weapons. So, Ms. Palin was right on that account. Score: 1 for Palin, 0 for journalists.

The second point - the lanterns in the church. The lanterns in the church were a signal to Paul Revere to tell him which way to go to avoid the British - One if by land, two if by sea. And the church bells? After hearing the call to arms from Revere and others as they rode across the countryside, church leaders rang their bells to awaken the sleeping colonists so they could join in the fight. So, again, Ms. Palin, you were correct.

Palin - 2, Journalists - 0.

Sarah Palin and Paul Revere

Paul Revere
This really is not a matter of politics or which side of the political debate you agree with. It is a symbol of our poor knowledge of our own history. In fact, the Paul Revere story that most people know is not accurate in many ways. It is a poem by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow that most Americans are familiar with.

For example, most people think Paul Revere rode across the countryside yelling out, "The British are coming!," but he didn't. All of the colonists were British citizens, so if he had said that it wouldn't have even made any sense. Instead, he yelled, "The redcoats are coming!," which is one of the names the colonists used for British soldiers.

Also, there were many riders that night, not just Paul Revere, including William Dawes, who is an ancestor of George W. Bush. Revere is the most famous rider due to Longfellow's poem, which was written during the Civil War to inspire northerners to unite against the South.

Read more about the actual events of Paul Revere's midnight ride here and you can also check out our very popular Facts on Paul Revere page, which has been viewed thousands of times in the past few days!

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