By now, most of you have seen or heard about this clip:
PALIN: 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.
To his credit, Chris Wallace followed up with her on this question on “Fox News Sunday”:
CHRIS WALLACE: I gotta ask you about that real quickly, though. You realize that you messed up about Paul Revere, don’t you?
PALIN: You know what? I didn’t mess up about Paul Revere. Here’s what Paul Revere did. He warned the Americans that “the British were coming, the British were coming.” And they were going to try to take our arms so got to make sure that, uh, we were protecting ourselves and, uhm, shoring up all of our ammunitions and our firearms so that they couldn’t take them.
But remember that the British had already been there — many soldiers — for seven years in that area. And part of Paul Revere’s ride… And it wasn’t just one ride. He was a courier. He was a messenger. 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.
And in a shout-out, gotcha type of question that was asked of me, I answered candidly. And I know my American history.
I was a history major in college – having gone to a school in the Boston area – so the story of Paul Revere was pretty well known to me at the time. Palin can continue to make mistakes and choose to repeat or refuse to acknowledge them – politicians do this all the time – but my big problem here is this:
Her fans are apparently editing Paul Revere’s Wikipedia page to make it more in line with her version. Longfellow may be no match for Sarah Palin.
Look at the changes made to the Wikipedia page here and here. Obviously, Palin isn’t responsible for what a misguided fan or fans of hers do, but this is the worst type of historical revision this side of the Soviet Union. If you want the real details of Paul Revere’s Midnight Ride, read this.
Update: There’s a good post about this subject at Outside the Beltway which is worth reading.