"As we enjoy great advantages from the inventions of others, we should be glad of the opportunity provided to serve self-interest when Al Gore created the internet; and we should also thank Mark Zuckerburg and Jack Dorsey for creating Facebook and Twitter out of the kindness of their big hearts and not the thinness of their small wallets."
-Ben Franklin, Autobiography (1742)

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Paul and Palin - Correcting Mistakes

The media is still up in arms about Sarah Palin's comments last week regarding the historic ride of one Paul Revere. If you haven't seen it yet, take a look at the video below:

Clearly, it seems a history lesson is in order and we here at Lost and Founders are happy to oblige. Just how accurate or inaccurate where Palin's comments you ask? Read for yourself:

The night of April 18th, 1775 was in fact the 2nd ride of Paul Revere. The first happened days earlier in which he mounted a horse for the first time in his life in order to ride to Lexington to inform John Hancock and Samual Adams of the recent movements of the British and their inevitable assault on Concord.

After that meeting, Revere instructed a man named Robert Newman back in Boston to send a signal to the people of Charlestown across the river to alert them of how the British would be attacking. One lantern in the church tower meant they would be moving by land from the south, and two lanterns meant they were crossing  a RIVER (not the sea) north of Charlestown.

When the signal was lit that night, so were the flames under the heels of Revere's horse as he began his 2nd ride (ever)  from Boston, this time to Concord. Here is where Palin really messed up. As he rode, Revere notified patriots along the path to give them time to prepare. He did not fire any guns as Palin suggests; in fact Paul Revere was a terrible shot and refused to carry a gun for fear that he would accidentally hit a child. He also did not ring any bells, which were not even invented until a year later in Philadelphia. He also most certainly did not warn any British soldiers that they themselves were coming, though he did shout insults at one that tried to apprehend him just outside Charlestown but who foolishly got his horse stuck in some mud (I have never understood British humor).

Contrary to popular belief, Revere in fact never made it to Concord that night - he actually got as far as Lexington again and was able to alert Hancock and Adams once more, but was captured by British soldiers on the way out of town thanks to a devious British company who moved the road signs and led Revere into a trap. He fought valiantly, managing to beat down no less than 17 of his attackers with a rock and stick (which later became the symbol of the Rock and Stick Society in Boston), but was eventually knocked unconscious and tied up.

After being questioned and held at gunpoint for hours back in Lexington, gunshots were heard from all directions that signified the start of the Battle of Lexington. In the midst of the chaos, Revere managed to escape. He and his fellow riders William Dawes and Sam Prescott did not become recognized heroes until after their deaths, but indeed their contributions at the onset of the Revolutionary War were incredibly heroic and crucial in keeping the leaders of the Sons of Liberty and the giant cache of ammo kept at Concord out of British hands.

So there you have it once again - the true story of one of our country's founding moments, no thanks to Sarah Palin. We will not speculate on whether her foible was simply a slip of the tongue, a lack of education, or something more sinister. Further shame on her supporters for actually trying to revise the wikipedia page of Paul Revere to be more in line with her statement. As true historians we feel there is never an excuse to re-write history to suit one's needs (unless its to save the future by changing the past in some sort of Back to the Future/Terminator scenario).

Thanks for reading!

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