Make us your home page
Instagram

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

PolitiFact: Sarah Palin has rough ride with Paul Revere story

The statement

"Part of (Paul Revere's) ride was to warn the British that were already there that, 'Hey, you're not going to succeed.' "

Sarah Palin, Sunday in an interview on Fox News

The ruling

We don't remember anything about Revere trash-talking to the British, so let's go to accounts from Revere himself.

The Massachusetts Historical Society has two accounts of the night of April 18, 1775, from Revere.

Revere said his mission that night was to ride to Lexington to warn Samuel Adams and John Hancock about English troop movements in that direction, which he did. He then set out for Concord with William Dawes and Samuel Prescott, but halfway there, was captured by British soldiers.

We'll pick up here with Revere's own words from a 1798 letter, explaining that after he was captured, a British commander began to question him:

"He asked me if I was an express. I answered in the affirmative. He demanded what time I left Boston? I told him; and added, 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."

In his 1994 book, Paul Revere's Ride, author David Hackett Fischer relied on historical documents to recount this passage:

With six pistols pointed at him, Revere spoke with a spirit the British officers found infuriating in a provincial prisoner, who seemed not to know his place, or to care about the danger he faced. …

"Gentlemen," Revere told them, "you've missed of your aim."

"What of our aim?" one answered in a "hard" tone. Another insisted that they were out after deserters, a frequent employment of British officers in America.

"I know better," Paul Revere boldly replied. "I know what you are after, and I have alarmed the country all the way up."

So Palin is correct that Revere did warn the British that they were going to face armed resistance from some 500 colonists, but that was hardly his aim that night.

Palin's comment suggests Revere was "running around ringing bells and warning the British," said James Giblin, author of The Many Rides of Paul Revere. "He wasn't, of course."

We rate Palin's comment Barely True.

Robert Farley, Times staff writer

This ruling has been edited for print. For the full version — and to read other rulings — go to PolitiFact.com.

PolitiFact: Sarah Palin has rough ride with Paul Revere story 06/07/11 [Last modified: Tuesday, June 7, 2011 9:15pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. After offseason of work hard, play hard, DeSean Jackson ready to produce for Bucs

    Bucs

    TAMPA — There's no telling what DeSean Jackson will do once he gets a football in his hands. Perhaps that's why a camera crew followed his every move Wednesday while the Bucs' new $30 million receiver stood on a step of the hot tub that empties into a spacious, azure pool at his new, sprawling five-bedroom home in …

    DeSean Jackson jokes around with girlfriend Kayla Phillips at their Tampa home as a crew from HBO’s Hard Knocks documents their day.
  2. Trump announces $10 billion Foxconn plant in Wisconsin

    Politics

    WASHINGTON — President Donald Trump said Wednesday that electronics giant Foxconn will build a $10 billion factory in Wisconsin that's expected to initially create 3,000 jobs, the largest economic development project in state history.

    President Donald Trump embraces Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker in the East Room of the White House during an announcement Wednesday that Foxconn is going to build a plant in Wisconsin.
  3. Playoff chase heats up for Rays with key series at Yankees up first (w/ video)

    The Heater

    ST. PETERSBURG

    It was important that Evan Longoria crushed a two-run homer in the sixth inning Wednesday and Steven Souza Jr. blasted a solo shot off the farthest catwalk an inning later.

    Adeiny Hechavarria (11) and Tim Beckham (1) celebrate the double play to end the top of the sixth inning. [WILL VRAGOVIC   |   Times]
  4. Conservatives come to Sessions' defense amid Trump attacks

    Politics

    WASHINGTON — Congressional Republicans and influential conservatives rallied around Attorney General Jeff Sessions on Wednesday as President Donald Trump kept up his public pelting of the nation's top law enforcement officer and left his future in doubt.

    Attorney General Jeff Sessions
  5. Jones: Alex Cobb proves again why he's Rays' stopper, no matter how long he's here (w/ video)

    The Heater

    ST. PETERSBURG

    If a team hopes to hang around the pennant race, it better have an ace. A stopper. A pitcher it can count on every fifth day to stop the bleeding, keep a winning streak going or flat-out win a game that a team flat-out needs to win.

    Rays starting pitcher Alex Cobb (53) throwing the first inning. [WILL VRAGOVIC   |   Times]