Palin says that Paul Revere’s warning was to the British that the Americans were armed—so leave us alone, you Brits, because we can defend our liberties!

(UPDATE, 2:20 p.m.: It turns out that Our Lady of Wasilla was not entirely incorrect about Paul Revere’s ride. As several readers inform me, one of whom is copied below, Revere in his own account of his adventure tells how, after he had given his warnings to the Americans, he was stopped by six British officers and under threat of being killed if he didn’t tell them what he was about [though that part of the account is ambiguous], told them that he had warned the Americans and that they were nearby with a troop of armed men ready to fight the British. Now, everyone is acting as though this correction in the story justifies Palin and shows that her critics don’t know their history and owe her an apology. I don’t agree. In Palin’s version, Revere’s main mission was to warn the British, which he did with bells and shots, whereas in reality Revere only told the British about the armed Americans after he had been captured by the British. Palin’s weak grasp of facts and ideas is still a problem, along with her inimitable wandering, if sometimes charmingly ditsy, syntax.)

Sarah Palin, as we all know, is on on a tour of historical national sites on the East Coast. Rick Ungar in a June 3 column at Forbes tells us how, in a perfect combination of Palinesque syntax and Palinesque historical reconstruction, the Lady of Wasilla understands Paul Revere’s ride:

Those of you who are regular readers know that, as a rule, I do not write about Sarah Palin. I stay away from her because I believe she represents the worst of American culture—all flash, no substance.

But to every rule there is an exception—and today is that exception.

Appearing yesterday in Boston during the latest stop on her Summer Vacation Tour, Palin did more than simply step all over Mitt Romney’s announcement- she gave us an important lesson in American history as Palin shared the following information about Paul Revere:

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

This certainly gives us an entirely new point of view to consider when examining our nation’s founding.

While I had been led to believe that Revere’s historic ride was actually for the purpose of warning our forefathers that the British were coming, it turns out that his midnight ride, complete with ringing bells and warning shots, was really all about letting the English know that we were armed.

No wonder the British lost. They apparently went into the Revolutionary War in the mistaken belief that we would not be armed and, as a result, failed to bring sufficient weaponry of their own.

Fortunately, Revere’s warning apparently arrived too late. It is, after all, a long trip back to London to pick up one’s musket and then return to the colonies to get into the battle.

Of course, Palin is not the only ninny pretending to be a leader of this country without having much understanding of our history. We all recall Michele Bachmann telling a New Hampshire audience how the Revolution began in their state at Concord and Lexington—which, of course, are in Massachusetts.

Then there was Herman Cain’s speech during which he announced his candidacy for the GOP nod to run for President of the United States by saying —

We don’t need to rewrite the Constitution of the United States of America, we need to reread the Constitution and enforce the Constitution…. And I know that there are some people that are not going to do that, so for the benefit of those who are not going to read it because they don’t want us to go by the Constitution, there’s a little section in there that talks about “life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.

The thing is that when you do reread the Constitution, you will find that the words ‘life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness” will not be found in that august document. You will, however, find them in the Declaration of Independence.

I understand that people sometimes get confused when speaking extemporaneously. When Tim Pawlenty confused Iran and Iraq, I didn’t find it particularly disturbing. Any of us could have made such an error. I can even cut Bachmann a break as she may have had a momentary brain freeze and gotten confused as to what state she was in during her speech. It happens when people spend a lot of time on the road.

Of course, how we explain all of Rep. Bachmann’s other gaffes in relating American history is a different matter.

But could you imagine yourself saying that Paul Revere was warning the British? Yes, it could have been one of those, “Oops, I meant to say the Americans … not the British.”

But that is clearly not what happened. Plug the word ‘Americans’ into what Palin had to say and it still makes absolutely no sense.

As for Mr. Cain, one would think that a speech announcing your candidacy to become the leader of the Free World would be considered a pretty important moment in one’s life—hardly a speech that would be given extemporaneously.

Wouldn’t you imagine that Cain—or someone on his staff—would have proofread the speech a few times before delivery and realized they were mixing up the U.S. Constitution and Declaration of Independence?

You get what you pay for, folks.

Here’s the video of Palin’s performance:

UPDATE: Elizabeth Ash wrote the following poem and posted it on the comments section below. I wanted to share it as I think you will enjoy it as much as I did.

Listen my children and you shall hear
Of the midnight ride of Paul Revere,
To warn the Brits, or what? Oh, dear
I cannot think, it’s not quite clear …

I have it now! And I will tell:
He rode, he shot, he rang the bell,
He told the Brits to go to hell
Defiant, proud and shooting swell.

Through the country dark he road
Through fair New Hampshire, so we’re told,
Through field and street, he was right bold
His rifle clutched, a vise-like hold.

“We armed, we’re armed!” he shouted wide,
He rang that bell as he did ride,
He shot the dark from side to side,
Uh, wait, I think that, uh, I lied.

contact Rick at

- end of initial entry -

Nile McCoy writes:

Those quibbling with Governor Palin’s statements have their history incomplete. During Paul Revere’s ride he was stopped by British soldiers, which Revere recounts in a 1789 letter maintained by the Massachusetts Historical Society, in his original language and spelling (emphasis mine):

I observed a Wood at a Small distance, & made for that. When I got there, out Started Six officers, on Horse back, and orderd me to dismount;—one of them, who appeared to have the command, examined me, where I came from, & what my Name Was? I told him. it was Revere, he asked if it was Paul? I told him yes. He asked me if I was an express? I answered in the afirmative. He demanded what time I left Boston? I told him; and aded, that their troops had catched aground in passing the River, and that There would be five hundred Americans there in a short time, for I had alarmed the Country all the way up. He imediately rode towards those who stoppd us, when all five of them came down upon a full gallop; one of them, whom I afterwards found to be Major Mitchel, of the 5th Regiment, Clapped his pistol to my head, called me by name, & told me he was going to ask me some questions, & if I did not give him true answers, he would blow my brains out. He then asked me similar questions to those above. He then orderd me to mount my Horse, after searching me for arms.He then orderd them to advance, & to lead me in front. When we got to the Road, they turned down towards Lexington. When we had got about one Mile, the Major Rode up to the officer that was leading me, & told him to give me to the Sergeant. As soon as he took me, the Major orderd him, if I attempted to run, or any body insulted them, to blow my brains out. We rode till we got near Lexington Meeting-house, when the Militia fired a Voley of Guns, which appeared to alarm them very much.

This is just like people blowing up over Palin’s “Party like it’s 1773” when her critics thought she was wrong, when in fact, the Boston Tea Party took place in the year 1773!

Posted by Lawrence Auster at June 04, 2011 09:32 AM | Send

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