Palin, oddly, sticks to (wrong) story that Paul Revere rode to “warn the British”

She’s simply wrong.  It’s a key point in American history, it’s well known what happened, and she’s wrong.  And weirder yet, she’s sticking to her guns on this one.

I’m wondering if this might be the moment that Sarah Palin finally jumps the shark, and is finally unmasked, once and for all, as a complete loon and a complete idiot.  Here’s Palin today on Fox, claiming again that she was right in saying part of Paul Revere’s famous midnight ride was to “warn the British” – it wasn’t.

From ThinkProgress, we learn what Palin had to say about this issue today:

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.”

No he did not. It was a secret ride meant to warn the Patriots that the British were coming. It was not meant to warn the British, in some weird chest-thumping exercise, that they’d better not mess with the mama bear Patriots, as Palin keeps alleging. On the contrary, the mission was top secret. More 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.”

What’s really disturbing about this latest incident is that Palin could have gotten away with saying she misspoke. Hell, I had to look up the details of Revere’s ride to make sure I got it all right. But once you look up the details, you don’t come back and outright lie about the historical record.

Palin’s current defense of her totally inaccurate depiction of American history, when she clearly now knows the truth, is nothing short of an indication of mental illness.

A look at the actual history:
Paul Revere House – it was to warn the Patriots.

In 1774 and the Spring of 1775 Paul Revere was employed by the Boston Committee of Correspondence and the Massachusetts Committee of Safety as an express rider to carry news, messages, and copies of resolutions as far away as New York and Philadelphia.

On the evening of April 18, 1775, Paul Revere was sent for by Dr. Joseph Warren and instructed to ride to Lexington, Massachusetts, to warn Samuel Adams and John Hancock that British troops were marching to arrest them. After being rowed across the Charles River to Charlestown by two associates, Paul Revere borrowed a horse from his friend Deacon John Larkin. While in Charlestown, he verified that the local “Sons of Liberty” committee had seen his pre-arranged signals. (Two lanterns had been hung briefly in the bell-tower of Christ Church in Boston, indicating that troops would row “by sea” across the Charles River to Cambridge, rather than marching “by land” out Boston Neck. Revere had arranged for these signals the previous weekend, as he was afraid that he might be prevented from leaving Boston).

On the way to Lexington, Revere “alarmed” the country-side, stopping at each house, and arrived in Lexington about midnight. As he approached the house where Adams and Hancock were staying, a sentry asked that he not make so much noise. “Noise!” cried Revere, “You’ll have noise enough before long. The regulars are coming out!” After delivering his message, Revere was joined by a second rider, William Dawes, who had been sent on the same errand by a different route. Deciding on their own to continue on to Concord, Massachusetts, where weapons and supplies were hidden, Revere and Dawes were joined by a third rider, Dr. Samuel Prescott. Soon after, all three were arrested by a British patrol. Prescott escaped almost immediately, and Dawes soon after. Revere was held for some time and then released. Left without a horse, Revere returned to Lexington in time to witness part of the battle on the Lexington Green.

The CIA’s account (seriously) – it was to warn the Patriots.

On April 19, 1775, Dr. Joseph Warren, chairman of the Boston Committee of Safety, charged Revere with the task of warning Patriot leaders Samuel Adams and John Hancock (then at Lexington) that they were also probable targets of the British operation.

Revere arranged for warning lanterns to be hung in the Old North Church, to alert Patriot forces across the river at Charleston, as to the means and route of the British advance. One lantern to indicate that British troops were advancing by land, two to indicate that the choice of route was across the Charles River.

After two lanterns were hung in the church steeple, Paul Revere set off on his famous ride. He notified Adams and Hancock, joined Dr. Samuel Prescott and William Dawes, and rode on toward Concord, only to be apprehended by a British patrol en route. Dawes got away, and Dr. Prescott managed to escape soon afterward to alert the Patriots at Concord, 21 miles west of Boston. Revere was questioned and soon released, after which he returned to Lexington to keep Hancock and Adams apprised of the proximity of British forces.


Revere did not shout the phrase later attributed to him (“The British are coming!”), largely because the mission depended on secrecy and the countryside was filled with British army patrols; also, most colonial residents at the time considered themselves British as they were all legally British subjects.

UPDATE: Now the far right is trying to claim that Palin was right in saying that Paul Revere’s ride was to warn the British not to take our guns because Revere himself said, after the fact, that when he was captured by the Brits for a short while, and they asked him what he was doing, he told him them the truth – that he knew what they were up to, and he’d already warned the rebels. That is a far cry from “Part of his ride was to warn the British”. His ride was over, he was captured, and he told them the truth of what he’d done when asked. His ride wasn’t to warn the British at all. He tried to get away from them, as the key passage explains in the link above.

CyberDisobedience on Substack | @aravosis | Facebook | Instagram | LinkedIn. John Aravosis is the Executive Editor of AMERICAblog, which he founded in 2004. He has a joint law degree (JD) and masters in Foreign Service from Georgetown; and has worked in the US Senate, World Bank, Children's Defense Fund, the United Nations Development Programme, and as a stringer for the Economist. He is a frequent TV pundit, having appeared on the O'Reilly Factor, Hardball, World News Tonight, Nightline, AM Joy & Reliable Sources, among others. John lives in Washington, DC. .

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