Paul Revere by Cyrus Dallin, North End, Boston



Sunday, June 5, 2011



Historians Say Sarah Palin Is Wrong On Paul Revere

Historians agree: Paul Revere did not warn the British with bells and warning shots. Period. Weighing in on Palin’s persistent gaffe, The Many Rides of Paul Revere author James Giblin notes that Revere “wasn’t really warning the British when he was a captive.” “He was just, in a way, boasting about the capabilities of Americans” in what Boston University’s Brendan McConville called “an effort to intimidate” the British. Regarding Palin, McConville stated that “it was an extremely complicated situation which she sort of regurgitated in a garbled way.” But one thing is clear. “He didn’t warn the British,” states Giblin. “That’s her most obvious blooper.”

Chris Wallace of FAUX NOOZ interviewed Palin on Sunday and asked her about her mangling the history of Paul Revere's ride:

CHRIS WALLACE: I gotta ask you about that real quickly, though. You realize that you messed up about Paul Revere, don’t you?

PALIN: You know what? I didn’t mess up about Paul Revere. Here’s what Paul Revere did. He warned the Americans that “the British were coming, the British were coming.” And they were going to try to take our arms so got to make sure that, uh, we were protecting ourselves and, uhm, shoring up all of our ammunitions and our firearms so that they couldn’t take them.

But remember that the British had already been there — many soldiers — for seven years in that area. And part of Paul Revere’s ride… And it wasn’t just one ride. He was a courier. He was a messenger. Part of his ride was to warn the British that were already there that, “Hey. You’re not going to succeed. You’re not going to take American arms. You are not gonna beat our own well-armed, uh, persons, uh, individual private militia that we have. He did warn the British.

And in a shout-out, gotcha type of question that was asked of me, I answered candidly. And I know my American history."

Not quite Mrs. Palin.  When asked about the ride this was your exact answer:

“He who warned the British that they weren’t gonna be takin’ away our arms by ringing those bells, and makin’ sure as he’s riding his horse through town to send those warning shots and bells that we were going to be sure and we were going to be free, and we were going to be armed.”

From ThinkProgress:

"If Palin knows her American history, this latest bit of jujitsu shows no evidence of it. The purpose of Revere’s ride was to inform John Hancock, Samuel Adams, and other colonial American patriots that the British Army was marching from Boston to Lexington. As such, secrecy and stealth were essential. So contrary to Palin’s claim that Revere warned the British they would not succeed, Revere attempted to avoid all contact with British troops or British loyalists already living in the colonies. The entire point of Revere’s mission was to inform the patriots of the British movements without the British knowing they were being informed.

At one point in the night, Revere was temporarily detained and interrogated by British soldiers at a roadblock. He intentionally provided them a falsely inflated description of the colonial militia’s strength, though only in the most strained metaphorical reading could this be considered a “warning.”

Furthermore — again due to the need for secrecy and stealth — Revere used no bells or warning shots, and delivered his message in face-to-face contacts throughout the night. (Palin seems to simply forget her creative inclusion of the bells and warning shots in her initial recounting.)

Why is this an issue?  Because she's toying with the media and the American people by pretending she is, or maybe she is not, running for president.  Any candidate running for the highest office in the land should know the basics of our American heritage.  One of those basics is that Paul Revere rode out on the night of April 18, 1775, to warn that the regulars were coming and to warn Samuel Adams and John Hancock that they were in danger of being arrested.  That's all she had to say.  She never mentioned the lantern in the Old North Church tower, which is an integral part of the story.  All she had to say was that a signal had been arranged beforehand to tell Revere how the British would arrive in Boston--one if by land, two if by sea--and that he rode toward Lexington and Concord to deliver this information. 

That's it.  Revere never rang any bells or shot off any guns during his ride.  If bell ringing and shooting occured, it occured after the countryside was alerted.  Revere had nothing to do with that. 

BTW, Mrs. Palin, that was no "gotcha" question.  Any grammar school child could have answered it. 

That question was hardly as difficult as asking you what newspapers you read.


Jerry Critter said...

How do you spell dumb?


Shaw Kenawe said...

But Jerry C., her fans will say that's unfair!

If her unusual answer to a very, very simple, basic question on American history was an outlier, no one would be talking about it. But taken together with her numerous gaffes, it reveals a woman who does not have a grasp of basic information, let alone complicated issues.

Here's another example of her ignorance of American history:

"Go back to what our founders and our founding documents meant -- they're quite clear -- that we would create law based on the God of the bible and the Ten Commandments." –-Sarah Palin, arguing that Judeo-Christian belief was the basis for American law and should continue to be used as a guiding force for creating future legislation, interview with Bill O'Reilly, May 6, 2010

Another glaring example of her ignorance of American history.

Jerry Critter said...

Her fans?!? They just blow hot air, kind of like what is inside her head.

Charlene said...

The most stupid part of this incident is she doesn't have the good grace to admit an error. I suspect she thinks she's right. That just makes her look worse.

Shaw Kenawe said...

When Herman Cain was asked about the Right of Return with regard to Israel, he flubbed the question. Asked later by a FOX news reader about the incident, he admitted he did not know what Right of Return meant. Cain isn't insecure and understands that acknowledging that he didn't know something is not an indictment on his intellect.

Palin, however, doesn't get that.

Infidel753 said...

Most right-wing tactics these days boil down to the kind of primate intimidation display performed by chimpanzees challenging rivals for top positions in the social group's dominance hierarchy: making loud, scary noises and adopting threatening postures, designed to intimidate opponents. I'd put everything from "Second Amendment solution" rants to Boehner's posturing about the debt ceiling in this category.

Steeped in this atmosphere, the ignorant Palin naturally assumes that Paul Revere must have similarly been making loud, threatening noises to intimidate the British. Stealth and subtlety are alien to the modern right's way of thinking about how to wage conflict. Revere was a good guy, so he must have been engaged in the same kind of noisy in-your-face kind of fight that Palin herself is waging.

Then, of course, since she imagines it that way, it must have been so.

And there's no point in trying to argue about it, because "OK, I made a mistake" isn't in their arsenal of tactics either. The only possible response is more screeching and posturing.

Cain and Todd Benson said...

My feelings about Sarah Palin and her thoughts can best be expressed by a piece of art I did.
“Refudiate, Sarah Palin”. Art, image.

Shaw Kenawe said...


Jane Goodall would heartily agree with that assessment.

Cain and Todd Benson,

Thank you for linking to your blog and your work. Beautiful combination of political satire and art. I'll be back often to see more.

Octopus said...

Why she never reads books or newspapers? Because Supply-Side Sarah has spent half her life trickling down on pregnancy test strips.

okjimm said...

Paul Revere? didn't he row around Pearl Harbor..."The Japs are coming..the Japs are coming!"

Infidel753 said...

No, it was when Obama was sworn in..... Revere rode his horse all the way to Alaska, ringin' those bells and blowin' away mooses right and left, yelling "The liberals are coming!"

Shaw Kenawe said...

Here's another version of Paul Revere's ride by Mel Brooks' 2000 year old man:

The 2,000 year old man is asked what he thinks about Paul Revere- his response: "An anti-Semite bastard."

The audience roars! What? He said what? The 2000 year old man goes on to explain that Revere on his famous ride was yelling out "The Yiddish are coming! The Yiddish are coming!" More laughs. When he is corrected by Carl Reiner who said Paul Revere actually said "The British are coming! The British are coming!, the 2000 year old man says, without a seconds hesitation, "Oy, I didn't go to his funeral. I have to write his wife a note."

okjimm said...

Mel Brooks...... Ha! Thanks for sharing!

Malcolm said...

I saw the interview with Chris Wallace Sunday morning where Sarah couldn't admit her mistake. After she gave her typical "Mad Libs" style response to cover her tracks, Chris had a knowing smile on his face as if to say, "This idiot is so full of shit, but she's good for our ratings!"

Sarah's failure to admit she was wrong about Paul Revere is right up there with Michele Bachmann's inability to own up to any of the false statements she's made.

Truth 101 said...

I'm a bit removed from my college history but didn't William Dawes and Samuel Prescott also ride with Revere?

Maybe while Revere was doing something Dawes was warning the British that we had guns they couldn't take and the only one that could would be a Kenyan elected president 0ver 200 years later unless he's stopped by a patriotic chick in a bus.

Shaw Kenawe said...

Samuel Prescott got into some trouble that night because he was dallying with the innkeepers wife. I think that's when Rep. Weiner helped Prescott escape from the angry husband AND the British.

But I'm not sure.