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Sarah Palin says she's right about Paul Revere. Is that wrong?

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John Nordell/The Christian Science Monitor/File

(Read caption) The famous statue of Paul Revere stands in front of the steeple of Old North Church, where the 'one if by land, two if by sea' lanterns were displayed. Sarah Palin has offered a much-debated account of what, exactly, Revere did on his midnight ride.

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Sarah Palin is defending herself – she says that what she said about Paul Revere isn’t wrong. Is she right? About not being wrong, we mean.

Let’s start from the top. When her “One Nation” bus tour stopped at Paul Revere’s house in Boston last Thursday, Ms. Palin gave her unique perspective on the most famous event in which he was involved. During his midnight ride of April 18, 1775, Revere “warned the British they wouldn’t be taking away our arms,” said the former Alaska governor.

She also described Revere as “riding his horse through town to send those warning shots and bells.”

Blogsophere chaos ensued. Many commentators noted the obvious point that Revere’s main task was to rouse American minutemen and warn them of a British advance, not vice versa. Some hacks went so far as to rewrite Henry Wadsworth Longfellow’s poetic account of the event to reflect Palin’s views.

But Palin doubled down on her Revere account during an appearance on Fox News Sunday. Yes, Revere did warn Americans that the British were coming, she said. But she also said that “part of his ride was to warn the British that were already there that, ‘Hey, you are not going to succeed, you are not going to take American arms.’ ”

Her supporters noted that at the end of that long night Revere was detained by a British patrol, and by his own account told them that in a short time they would be facing a force of 500 Americans, because he (Revere) had “alarmed the country.”


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