Sarah Palin Explains Paul Revere

Sarah Palin was in Boston yesterday giving a history lesson.

Mediaite (“Watch CNN Anchor’s Deadpan Reaction To Sarah Palin’s Version Of Paul Revere’s Midnight Ride“):

Sarah Palin is in Boston today, meeting with supporters and other curious elements. She is also chatting about how meaningful being in such a historic region is to her on her One Nation tour. Of course, this means Sarah Palin is talking about history, and CNN anchor Brooke Baldwin, who was covering the story this afternoon, could barely contain her contempt as Palin described Paul Revere “sending those warning shots and bells” to tell Americans that “the British weren’t taking away our arms.”

Palin strung together an off-the-cuff explanation of the famed Midnight Ride for those listening that seemed to involve a ton of noise, bells, gunfire, and a warning that the British were out to take away Americans’ as-yet-nonexistent Second Amendment rights, which Baldwin couldn’t help but react to with deer-in-the-headlights confusion. “History lesson from Sarah Palin on the Midnight Ride of Paul Revere,” she deadpanned.

For a more detailed version, see Andy Griffith:

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FILED UNDER: Humor, Quick Takes
James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is Professor and Department Head of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College and a nonresident senior fellow at the Scowcroft Center for Strategy and Security at the Atlantic Council. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm vet. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.

Comments

  1. Ben says:

    That was like listening to Miss South Carolina explain it. Except this woman is one of the serious contenders to be president. I don’t even think my usual “oy vey” covers it here.

  2. sam says:

    The Washington Post had a story today, Sarah Palin collects a bushel of Pinocchios on her bus tour. Another entry in the multivolume work, Sarah Palin is Full of Shit. You know, if one accepts the multiverse theory, there is a universe in which this nitwit becomes President of the United States. My heart goes out to those poor bastards.

  3. tom p says:

    Uummmmmmmmm……. Uuhhhhhhhh…….. Speachless.

  4. hey norm says:

    i have $50 bucks that one of the resident wingnuts here will explain to us how her version is correct and it’s the rest of us that have been force-fed the wrong version by public school indocrination programs.

  5. Patrick T. McGuire says:

    …the British were out to take away Americans’ as-yet-nonexistent Second Amendment rights…

    This statement is wrong on several levels. First, the British were on the way to seize weapons stores (as Mr. Martel writes in his article) and there is nothing in the clip to indicate that Sarah Palin made any mention of the Second Amendment. In fact she says that the British were on their way to take away our arms.

    And then the Second Amendment grants no rights but rather recognizes that a right already exists and the government should not infringe upon it., i.e. the right to arms, which is protected by the Second Amendment, pre-existed both the Constitution and the Second Amendment and existed at the time of Paul Revere’s ride.

    Mr. Martel seems to be projecting his own ignorance on Sarah Palin.

  6. Herb says:

    i have $50 bucks that one of the resident wingnuts here will explain to us how her version is correct

    No bet.

    $25 bucks, though, that they blame the media for making her look bad.

  7. MikeSilver says:

    I’m not sure who you are suggesting needs a history lesson, but Gov. Palin is correct. Paul Revere’s ride was to warn the Colonists that General Gage had ordered the confiscation of the Colonist’s PERSONALLY OWNED weapons stored in the Armories of Concord and Lexington.

    Here is an excerpt of the Col. Smith’s after action report …
    http://teachingamericanhistory.org/library/index.asp?document=868

    In the obedience to your Excellency’s commands, I marched on the evening of the 18th inst. with the corps of grenadiers and light infantry for Concord, to execute your Excellency’s orders with respect to destroying all ammunition, artillery, tents, &c, collected there.

    The first battle of the Revolution was fought by Americans defending their self-defense rights, which include the right to keep and bear arms. At that time, subjects of the crown had the right to keep and bear arms, especially critical since the Indians were still raiding the colonist settlements. The English Bill of Rights of 1689 provided for the freedom of the people to have arms for their own defence as suitable to their class and as allowed by law

  8. wr says:

    Yeah, but 57 states! 57 states!

  9. MikeSilver says:

    Here is an excerpt of General Gage’s orders ….

    http://teachingamericanhistory.org/library/index.asp?document=864

    Lieut. Colonel Smith, 10th Regiment �Foot,

    Sir,

    Having received intelligence, that a quantity of Ammunition, Provisions, Artillery, Tents and small Arms, have been collected at Concord, for the Avowed Purpose of raising and supporting a Rebellion against His Majesty, you will March with a Corps of Grenadiers and Light Infantry, put under your Command, with the utmost expedition and Secrecy to Concord, where you will seize and distroy all Artillery, Ammunition, Provisions, Tents, Small Arms, and all Military Stores whatever. But you will take care that the Soldiers do not plunder the Inhabitants, or hurt private property.

  10. MikeSilver says:

    Another item, after Paul Revere when through a town, bells and warning shots were fired to tell the minutemen to assemble. They didn’t have mobile phones or twitter back then.

    So lets recap …. Gov. Palin indicated that the Americans were not going to allow the British to confiscate their weapons. General Gage intended to confiscate the small arms of the Colonists and sent Col Smith to do so. The colonists used church bells and rifle shots to muster the minutemen. So which part did Gov. Pailn get wrong? Which part did CNN get right?

    Hey Norm …. use your $50 to buy some history books, real history books not the agenda driven versions they give our kids

  11. TG Chicago says:

    So Revere “warned the British that they weren’t gonna be takin’ away our arms”?

  12. Patrick T. McGuire says:

    @MikeSilver

    Well said. It’s encouraging to know there are some out there who still know some history.

  13. john personna says:

    Are you guys sure you have it right?

    I see “collected there” and take it to mean militia supplies.

    I also see “take care that the Soldiers do not plunder the Inhabitants, or hurt private property” and take it to mean household weapons.

  14. john personna says:

    Here is wikipedia on “gun politics in the United States”

    In the years prior to the Revolutionary War, the British, in response to the colonists unhappiness over increasingly direct control and taxation of the colonies, imposed a powder embargo on the colonies in an attempt to lessen the ability of the colonists to resist British encroachments into what the colonies regarded as local matters. Two direct attempts to disarm the colonial militias fanned what had been a smoldering resentment of British interference into the fires of war. These two incidents were the attempt to confiscate the cannon of the Concord and Lexington militias, leading to the Battles of Lexington and Concord of April 19, 1775, and the attempt, on April 20, to confiscation militia powder stores in the armory of Williamsburg, Virginia, which led to the Gunpowder Incident and a face off between Patrick Henry and hundreds of militia members on one side and the Royal Governor of Virginia, Lord Dunmore, and British seamen on the other. The Gunpowder Incident was eventually settled by paying the colonists for the powder.[26]

    Minutemen were members of teams of select men from the American colonial militia during the American Revolutionary War who vowed to be ready for battle against the British within one minute of receiving notice. On the night of April 18/April 19, 1775, minuteman Paul Revere, William Dawes, and Dr. Samuel Prescott spread the news that “the British are coming,”. Paul Revere was captured before completing his mission when the British marched towards the arsenal in Lexington and Concord to collect the patriots’ weapons. Only Dr. Prescott was able to complete the journey to Concord.[27] The right to firearms was thus an issue in America from the very beginning.

    It looks like it was about the cannon.

  15. Scott O. says:

    The British are coming, and they’re bring death panels.

  16. hey norm says:

    Not sure who I collect from…but I think I have won the bet…

  17. Scott O. says:

    uh, bringing

  18. sam says:

    MikeSilver’s right about the alarm system: See, Paul Revere’s Ride, Google Book Results. I do think he’s somewhat wrong, though, about the confiscation of arms. I think, as JP indicated, it was the militia stores Gage was after (although the Brits had confiscated the arms of the citizens of Boston). Arms in the houses of private citizens along the route were not to be taken. (Moot point in retrospect, since many of those arms were already out in the woods being loaded in preparation of firing on the retreating British soldiers as they made their way back to Boston.) Finally, Revere was not concerned primarily — if at all — with the confiscation of arms, he was concerned that the British were out to arrest John Adams and John Hancock, who were hiding out in Lexington and he wanted above all to prevent that.

  19. mantis says:

    And then the Second Amendment grants no rights but rather recognizes that a right already exists and the government should not infringe upon it.

    While the founders did seem to believe some rights were inherent and “endowed by our creator,” the right to bear arms was not one of them. That right was established by the Constitution.

  20. Tano says:

    So what you guys are saying is that the “original intent” behind the notion of having the right to bear arms was that these personal weapons would be stored in the local arsenal? For use, I imagine, by their owners when they functioned as a “well-regulated militia”?

  21. Robert in SF says:

    I came to the article to read the comments, and maybe enjoy the snark…but damn it, I learned something! With sources cited….damn it.

    I guess she wasn’t the most eloquent and maybe she was positioning her message some with a focus on one aspect of the event, but the supporters here make a good case that she was right on in spirit about what happened and why….

    I guess it just goes to show that you should trust but verify when it comes to “common knowledge” sometimes…

  22. john personna says:

    No Robert, not until or unless someone can make this into a general raid by the British on houses for “guns.”

    Until then it is a military campaign directed at a militia headquarters.

    Palin supporters will squint to make those two the same, but if you are really reading for truth, I don’t think you should be as generous.

  23. john personna says:

    Shorter: we don’t want C- answers from Presidential contenders

  24. TG Chicago says:

    While I don’t think this is a big deal overall, I do find it amusing how Palin has such difficulty stringing together a coherent sentence. And how clumsily she tacked on some red meat at the end.

    By the way, was her recent tweet about the “Statute” of Liberty posted over here? Also not a big deal, but amusing.

  25. jwest says:

    Robert in SF,

    You exhibit a remarkable level of intellectual honesty in your comment.

    Have you ever considered entering the field of political science? God knows there is a desperate need for people like you.

  26. john personna says:

    I don’t mind if celebrities give C- answers, TG. If that’s all she really aspires to, no prob.

    Otherwise, this will be as painful as the Christine O’Donnell cycle.

  27. Ben says:

    Umm, all the defenders here seem to be missing that she said that Revere was warning the BRITISH, as opposed to the locals. Not quite, smarty-pants Sarah. Revere and the other riders were specifically trying to avoid alerting the British that the colonists were aware of their movements.

  28. Robert in SF says:

    Jwest: thank you. I try to always be intellectually honest, and abhor partisan politics (such as the political spin about anything President Obama says).

    I don’t think modern Americans, the laymen if you will, understand milita’s in the historical context. They think that persons (and the military) have rights to gun, not groups (unions, corporations, chamber of commerce, etc.), and as such, when they hear that the British wanted to take the militia’s gun, that meant the persons….

    The lay persons in America don’t know their history or the context of popular history legends, for the most part. They have been too busy trying to keep up with just living!

  29. Patrick T. McGuire says:

    Umm, all the defenders here seem to be missing that she said that Revere was warning the BRITISH, as opposed to the locals.

    Yeah, she said that and, if you watch the video of it, she said it while she was busy signing various items. So while multi-tasking, she was distracted and got her words mixed up! Hell, there are commenters here that can’t type and write a cogent idea at the same time.

    Is this the best you can do?

  30. Ben says:

    Oh so she simply misspoke, it’s obvious to everyone what she meant. Kinda like 57 states, right?

  31. Patrick T. McGuire says:

    I don’t think modern Americans, the laymen if you will, understand milita’s in the historical context. They think that persons (and the military) have rights to gun, …

    Actually, in a historical context, militias were comprised of civilians banding together and using their own personal weapons. And the recent Heller case confirmed that there is an individual right to own a gun, it has nothing to do with any groups.

  32. Robert in SF says:

    Patrick: then your statement about personal guns being the militia’s gun, doesn’t fit well with what was stated above (that the guns were stored in the warehouses/armories)…so those weren’t militia guns? I don’t have the education to debate any about history or militias, but I am curious.

    I had heard from gun-right’s advocate about the use of the word militia at the time the constitution was written, and as such it was composed of white males, over the age of 18 (maybe the age is incorrect…memory isn’t great about this).

    What I was saying is that when lay people hear the work militia, they think groups of persons, sort of like when they hear the word church (in the Christian context) they think the organized group of persons who go to the same building to worship, or to that building itself…but not to the original meaning of the word from the source, the Bible: the collected persons who are saved, i.e., all Christians, not just those that go that building or are “members” in the same group.

    So most people think militia = groups, but in context, it did not. My first statement wasn’t very clear, reading back.

    I should have said something like:

    I don’t think modern Americans, the laymen if you will, understand milita’s in the historical context. I bet they hear militia, and picture organized groups…

    But I also bet they think that persons (and the military) have rights to gun, not groups (unions, corporations, chamber of commerce, etc.), and as such, when they hear that the British wanted to take the militia’s gun, that meant the persons. It’s kind of a muddled thought…sorry for any frustration about trying to figure out what I mean.

  33. MarkedMan says:

    I have to agree with Robert’s original statement here. I just assumed she was making stuff up out of whole cloth and saying it badly. Instead, it appears she was merely putting aspin on history, and saying it badly. But saying it badly doesn’t make her wrong, and even wrong, she wasn’t just making stuff up.

    I have to add that I find her spin ridiculous nonetheless. The colonist’s were pissed and marching soldiers through their towns and seizing property bought them to a boiling point. I find it hard to believe anyone was saying, “well if they were only going to march through our town and seize town records, or smelted iron (colonists were not allowed to forge iron – they had to buy wrought goods from Europe) or seized our treasury to pay back taxes, any of those things I could have let pass. But they are seizing the pile of guns and ammunition we secretly gathered in order to shoot at them and that violates our god-given right to bear arms. I have to go to war!”

  34. Patrick T. McGuire says:

    @Robert in SF

    During this period in history, the militias were organized much in the same way as our current National Guard. They consisted of civilians who met periodically to train as a militia and then return to their “day jobs” if you will. During this training, they used their own personal weapons which were also used for personal protection against raiding indians and for hunting. For a better reading of this topic, see this article.

    While personally owned weapons were used for militia purposes, it was common practice by towns to maintain a centrally located store of gunpowder, ball, and related materials for use by the militia. This store could possibly have also stored additional muskets as well as cannons. It was these stores that the British were targeting but they were also intent on confiscating any weapons that they could find which could possibly mean searching homes. The warning not to plunder the homes or damage personal property was intended to mean that the British could enter homes for the express purpose of confiscating weapon only and nothing else.

  35. R. W. Theodore says:

    So if Ms. Palin went to Salem Street and climbed the bell tower ladder, reenacting the evenings events on that fateful night, could she see Russia from that height?

    She looked pretty good walking the streets of Boston, she is very pleasant on the eyes. I had to watch the replay of that sound clip a few (6) times before i could see, I mean hear what she was saying.

    Paul Revere rode ‘through town, ‘ringin them bells, you ‘betcha.

    I hear she is considering the female lead role in Hangover 3.

    Ted from Bahstun

  36. R. W. Theodore says:

    Oh before i forget, Candidate Obamas 57-states remark, I honestly thought he was talking about ketchup. Everyone know that Heinz has 57 Varieties of taste bud delight, even John Kerry.

    Obama likes Heinz Ketchup.
    John Kerry liked Theresa Heinz so much he married her.
    Victor Kiam liked the Patriots so much, he bought the The Remington Shaver company.
    The Patriots won a few Superbowls.
    Paul Revere made super silver bowls.
    Paul Revere rode his horse through town.
    In the musical Guys and Dolls a horse named Paul Revere was featured in the opening number.
    Clive Rowe played Nicely-Nicely Johnson, and he sang the Paul Revere line.
    Rowes Wharf is a wonderful; spot in Boston to walk along the water and see the sights
    Watching the TV accounts of Tina Fey walking along the Freedom Trail, misquoting historical record was priceless.

  37. Muffler says:

    I posted this in another article.. but it fits here too:

    The problem with Palin is that she has the general idea of the legend, but the facts she presents are inaccurate or entirely wrong as they relate to the actual events. The ride was to warn Adams and Hancock in Lexington. They were subject to arrest. The arms stored in Concord were also vulnerable, but many of the “minutemen” we self armed and the British were not raiding homes to confiscate their hunting rifles (at this point in history – arms didn’t have 10 round clips and people actually hunted to live).

    The underlying causes as to why the British sent troops was far more specific and telling the factual story over the myth serves a greater justice to educating our youth about liberty and freedom. The underlying lead up and history teaches what liberty and freedom are about and not just tag lines. It also sets the ground for the entire war, declaration of independence (which is not a declaration of freedom) and then ultimately to the foundations of the Constitution.

    So I would say that Palin is using history as a tag line and propagating the legends. The legends teach nothing about liberty and freedom. They teach Longfellow.

  38. R. W. Theodore says:

    @mufflah’. I am quite sure that she has the general idea. Having the media crushing in on her, recording every breath she draws, is certainly an issue and would more than likely cause verbal mistakes.

    I am still watching the video, she is amazing, in so many weighs.

    Ted

  39. MikeSilver says:

    In regards to the 2nd Amendment, you are right it didn’t exist. However, as subjects of the crown, they were covered by the Bill of Rights of 1689 which provided … “freedom of the people to have arms for their own defence as suitable to their class and as allowed by law” . In addition, our founding fathers equated gun ownership with self defense.

    The weapons and powder in the armories were bought and owned by the colonists not a government entity. I believe John Hancock bought a cannon that was stored in Concord. The colonist later “liberated” some high quality British cannons which they used in the war. After the war, the Americans named one of the liberated cannons “the Hancock”.

    The claim that the British moved to Concord and Lexington to find Hancock and Adams is profoundly in error. In fact, the British thought they remained in Boston and were searching for them even after the first battles.

  40. Falze says:

    Not to make the Palin-deranged further look stupid…no, wait, that’s what I wanted to do…

    “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.” – Paul Revere

    That would be Paul Revere warning the British that they were about to run in a pile of angry colonists.

    So, uh, does it make you feel especially dumb to attack Sarah Palin, the bane of your existences and the stupidest creature you can imagine, about her stupidity…only to find that she’s right and you’re wrong? Nah, I bet it just makes you even angrier.

  41. TG Chicago says:

    Good grief, listen to the word salad:

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

    Clearly that quote you found does not exonerate her.

    Why is it so hard to just admit she made a tiny verbal slip? It’s really not a big deal. Everybody does it (yes, “57 states”). Just admit it and move on.

    Really the worst part to me is the rollercoaster syntax she frequently uses, not the minor slip up or the clumsy tack-on of redmeat. But still, I don’t expect anybody’s mind to be changed based on this incident. It’s nothing compared to that “What newspapers do you read?” gotcha question.

  42. R J says:

    In fact, as pointed out at Conservatives4Palin, Revere did in fact tell the British that the colonial militias, who had been alerted, were waiting for them.  Here is the original historical text written by Revere (spelling in original, bold added):
    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

    “A townsman remembered that ‘repeated gunshots, the beating of drums and the ringing of bells filled the air.’…. Along the North Shore of Massachusetts, church bells began to toll and the heavy beat of drums could be heard for many miles in the night air.”
    Just like when she talked about 1773, the year of the first tea party, she is ahead of you liberal morons once again! Good try, but it would seem Mrs. Palin knows a great deal more about our county’s history than a bunch of commies who revile it! Liberals suck!

  43. An Interested Party says:

    If all of this helps Palin to get into the presidential race and secure the GOP nomination, it is only good news for the president…

  44. labman57 says:

    Palin is once again rewriting history while trying to refudiate her latest failed attempt to appear intelligent and educated in her quest to be perceived as God’s gift to American patriotism. In her defense, while demonstrating her expertise about familiar, important American historical events, perhaps she had sweaty palms and her ink smudged.

    Bachmann and Palin share fundamental character flaws — both have a propensity toward making snide, petty comments about those with whom they disagree, neither does her homework before making public comments regarding important social and historical events, and neither is mature enough to accept responsibility for her own mistakes, failures, and shortcomings.