Paul Revere: According To Sarah Palin
Sarah Palin was recently in the news stating that she wasn’t wrong in her statement that Paul Revere rode out on his “midnight ride” to warn the British not to take our weapons. Before I get into this debate: She’s wrong. She is not TOTALLY wrong, mind you, but she's a little mixed up. Sarah took the real story of Paul Revere and added her own little spin to the story. Revere wasn't warning the British about anything. He also wasn't sticking up for your future second amendment rights. Here's the reality of Paul Revere and his famous ride and beyond!
As you can imagine with all of Sarah Palin’s statements; there is a shred of proof within her claims. It is just a twisted, misunderstood version of the truth. In this case, the British WERE in the colonies before Paul Revere’s Ride. They’d been there for years - decades even. Why? Because the American colonies were BRITISH-American colonies. The British protected their colonies with soldiers. Some of the soldiers were American colonists. The people that the British did not like were the rebels against their rule. On April 14, 1775, British General Gage was ordered by the Earl of Dartmouth to disarm the rebels and take their hidden stash of guns. They were to destroy all Military Stores of weapons and arrest the rebel leaders (Samuel Adams and John Hancock). What they were ordered NOT to do was to “plunder the inhabitants or hurt private property.” Gage never passed on the word to arrest Adams or Hancock because he feared an uprising. But the rebels didn’t know that. Paul Revere - among others - rode out to warn the leaders.
Everything else. The American colonists weren’t having their guns taken away from them. In fact, they just got finished fighting the Seven Years War (also known as the French-Indian War) alongside the British. As a matter of fact, the colonists were British. They weren’t American at this point in time. One of Paul Revere’s jobs was that of a courier. He had involved himself in an anti-British Rule group, known as the Sons of Liberty. These people were present at the Boston Massacre (1770) and most likely the Boston Tea Party (1773). The night of the ride, Revere’s goal - along with another man, Charles Dawes, were to warn Adams and Hancock. They gathered about 40 other riders that evening to tell others, but never completed their mission. Revere was detained and had to walk back to Boston.
As stated by Sarah Palin, Paul Revere warned the British not to mess with the Colonists. Sort of...When he was stopped by a British patrol, he told them that the British army shouldn’t go to Lexington because there was a large group of militia there. He was trying to save his own tail at this time and probably didn’t want to see any bloodshed for his fellow patriots. Nonetheless, the Battle of Lexington started and Paul Revere spent it helping Hancock and Adams move out of the city.
You probably know everything about Paul Revere’s Ride from Henry Wadsworth Longfellow. He wrote a poem in 1861 about the famous happenstance. A lot of it wasn’t true, but we now believe it to be reality. The poem is written from the standpoint of a fellow who owns the Wayside Inn. He wrote the poem after hearing a story about Paul Revere on a visit to Boston. If you take a look at the time this poem was written - January, 1861 - you will notice that the Civil War was about to begin. Longfellow was an abolitionist and thus, sided with the North. "Paul Revere's Ride" was meant to appeal to Northerners' sense of urgency and, as a call for action, noted that history favors the courageous. He was hoping that people would realize that slavery was a bad idea and do the right thing when they read this poem.
Before Longfellow wrote this poem, very few people knew about Paul Revere or his midnight ride. In fact, his obituary in 1818 doesn’t even mention that he was in the Revolutionary war. There could be several reasons for this. First of all, Revere’s time after the war wasn’t so much about patriotism. He was a minor silversmith in Boston. His participation in the Revolution was also not very noteworthy, except for a court-martial being levied against him for disobeying orders during the Penobscot expedition. This was a failed naval battle that I have written about here. The incident ended Revere’s military career. While most of us know him as a silversmith, Revere worked in many failed businesses, including: dentist, courier, coppersmith, bell maker, and hardware store owner. He finally settled on being a copper and brass manufacturer where he found success in later life.