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Monday, June 6, 2011

Anti-Palinites Go All In On Epistemic Closure

This weekend, lacking any new Weiner revelations (but see today), the left-blogosphere (but not exclusively the left) was preoccupied with proving that Sarah Palin was wrong when she said that Paul Revere had warned the British that the colonial militias were massing. 

Relying on the Longfellow poem about Paul Revere's ride, there was a collective insistence that Palin's statement reflected ignorance and stupidity, but the truth is that the Longfellow poem was not a complete account of the events.

Indeed, the Longfellow Historical Society (via Althouse) notes:
The basic premise of Longfellow's poem is historically accurate, but Paul Revere's role is exaggerated. The most glaring inconsistencies between the poem and the historical record are that Revere was not the only rider that night, nor did he make it all the way to Concord, but was captured and then let go (without his horse) in Lexington, where he had stopped to warn Samuel Adams and John Hancock of the impending attack.

Longfellow's intention was not to write a history; it was to create a national hero and he was successful at doing so.
When I pointed out a fact, that Revere himself wrote that he had warned the British that the colonial militias were waiting, the anti-Palinites went into full attack mode, calling me a "deranged propagandist," of making Palin "an object of idolatry," and of validating "the vagina vote." 

Charles Johnson purported to uncover a conspiracy by one person to update the Wikipedia entry on Revere, although Charles did not point out what would have been inaccurate about the updates. 

The debate also shifted, from she was wrong as to the fact of the warning to she was wrong as to Revere's intent.  The goal posts constantly were moved.  All in all, there was an intellectual shut down by those on the left and right who don't like Palin, an unwillingness to consider facts which contradicted their narrative.

The Boston Herald quotes two local historians who back up the fact that Palin may have been right:
Boston University history professor Brendan McConville said, “Basically when Paul Revere was stopped by the British, he did say to them, ‘Look, there is a mobilization going on that you’ll be confronting,’ and the British are aware as they’re marching down the countryside, they hear church bells ringing — she was right about that — and warning shots being fired. That’s accurate.”

Patrick Leehey of the Paul Revere House said Revere was probably bluffing his British captors, but reluctantly conceded that it could be construed as Revere warning the British.

“I suppose you could say that,” Leehey said. “But I don’t know if that’s really what Mrs. Palin was referring to.”

McConville said he also is not convinced that Palin’s remarks reflect scholarship.

“I would call her lucky in her comments,” McConville said.
Fine, call her lucky.  But don't shut your mind to the possibility that she was right factually, and don't accuse those who pointed out facts of being idol worshippers or worse.

The shutting of the collective anti-Palin mind is what we witnessed this weekend.

Update:  Ed Morrissey:
If all people know of Revere is Longfellow’s poem, which is what the reaction to Palin’s remarks seem to show, then they know far less than they think.
And Andrew Malcolm:

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  1. Paul Revere, part 1

    "Meanwhile the British Regulars gathered around their prisoner (Paul Revere, on the early morning of April 19. 1775). They were angry men. Ten of the King's officers had failed to snare two out of three suspicious countrymen who had ridden straight into their trap. They turned their hostility toward the one who remained in their hands. Revere was ordered to dismount. Some of the Regulars began to abuse him.

    Suddenly another officer intervened. Paul Revere thought him "much of a gentleman." The officer addressed his captive as a gentleman too, with the elaborate courtesy of that distant age.

    "Sir ," the British officer said politely , "may I crave your name?"
    "My name is Revere," the captive answered.
    "What?" the officer exclaimed in surprise, "Paul Revere!"
    "Yes ," Came the reply.
    Paul Revere was well known to these British officers. They began to talk among themselves with high excitement, then angrily turned back toward their captive. "The others abused me much," Paul Revere remembered, but their leader continued to treat him correctly. "He told me not to be afraid; they should not hurt me.

    Paul Revere began to look around him. He discovered that he was not the only prisoner. The officers had been stopping every suspicious rider who passed them on the road. They had caught Elijah Sanderson and Jonathan Loring, who had been sent from Lexington to watch them, and had also bagged Solomon Brown, a messenger who had been dispatched to Concord. Along the way
    they alro captured an innocent one-armed pedlar named .Allen who had nothing to do with either side. All of the prisoners had been interrogated at length. "They asked as many questions as a Yankee could," Sanderson later testified. He remembered that they "put many questions to us, '"which I evaded ... they particularly inquired where Hanoock and .Adams were."

    The officers turned to Revere and began to question him in the same way. He answered truthfully. They demanded to know if he was an express, and were told yes. The other captives were too far away to hear all of the questions, but close enough to make out Paul Revere's replies. With six pistols pointed at him, Revere spoke with a spirit that the British officers found infuriating in a provincial prisoner, who seemed not to know his place, or to care about the danger he faced. One of the prisoners Elijah Sanderson, listened at a distance and later remembered, "I heard him speak up with energy to them."

    "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 Britiah officers in America.

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

    Even as the British officers posed the questions, Paul Revere began to control the interrogation. Before the Regulars realized what had happened, the prisoner himself became the inquisitor. Paul Revere proceeded to TELL his astonished captors more than they knew about their own mission. He informed them that Colonel Smith's expedition had left Boston by boat across the Back Bay, and that "their boats had catched aground" at Lechmere Point, and that the Regulars had come ashore in Cambridge.

    He also TOLD them what he had been doing that night, and WARNED that he had alarmed the militia at Lexington, and their lives would be at risk if they lingered near that town. "I shou1d have 500 men there soon," he said, adding, "if I had not known people had been sent out to give information to the country, and time enough to get fifty miles, I would have ventured one shot from you, before I would
    have suffered you to have stopped me."

  2. Paul Revere, part 2

    "As the conversation continued, the British officers grew more and more agitated. They were outraged by the effrontery of this infernal Yankee scoundrel who dared to threaten thf: King's Offlcers even while their pistols were pointed at his breast, they were also increasingly disturbed by the unwelcome news that he brought them.

    After Paul Revere had spoken, one of the Regulars rode off some distance to the highway, and came back at full gallop with his commander, Major Edward Mitchell of the 5th Foot, The major was an excitable man, and not in a happy fame of mind. He ordered that Revere be searched for weapons, None were found. Had he been carrying arms, the story of the midnight ride might have ended

    Then Major Mitchell himself came up to Paul Revere in a high temper. "He clapped [a] pistol to my head," Revere remembered, "and said he was agoing to ask me some questions, and if I did not tell the truth, he would blow my brains out."

    Paul Revere was angered by those words, and told the major that "he did not need a threat to make him speak the truth," He added contemptuously, "I call myself a man of truth, and you have stopped me on the highway, and made me a prisoner I knew not by what right. I will tell the truth, for I am not afraid."

    That is precisely what Paul Revere proceeded to do, He told the truth without hesitation, while surrounded by armed and hostile horsemen in that dark pasture on the Concord Road. He spoke with a serene self-confidence, even to these armed and angry men who pointed their pistols at him, and were not happy to hear what he had to say.

    Later, Paul Revere remembered that "the officer who led me said I was in a damned critical situation. I told him I was sensible of it." But even in this moment of mortal peril he spoke boldly to the British officers with the courage of an urgent purpose. Paul Revere had a particular object in mind. Everything, without exception, that he said and did to his captors was consistent with a single goa1. He was trying: to move there men away from Lexington - away from Hancock and Adams. Revere had reason to believe that the mission of the patrol was to arrest those two Whig leaders. He warned the British officers that if they remained in the vicinity of Lexington Green, they also would be in extreme danger, and he hinted that the expedition coming after them could start a war unless it was warned of the trouble that awaited them at Lexington center. In fact, trouble was gathering for them in many places that night, but Revere stressed only one place in particular-Lexington, where he had left Hancock. and Adams.

    It was a remarkable performance. The soldiers listened carefully to Paul Revere, increasingJy quiet and pensive. Then they withdrew' a little way and began to talk among themselves. Suddenly they returned to Revere, and ordered him to mount. Another officer went to the captive Sanderson, who remembered that they "ordered me to untie my horse (which was tied to a little birch) and mount."

    The party left the pasture, entered the road, and turned east toward Boston. "They kept us in the middle of the road, and rode on each side of us," Sanderson recalled. "They took all of us, Revere, Loring, Brown and myself." One of the officers took out his watch and looked at it.

    Sanderson asked him the time and was told it was a quarter past two.

    Paul Revere's words had worked brilliantly. The Regulars were increasingly tense and nervous. For many hours they had loitered on the road. Now they were in a hurry to ride east, and impatient of every delay. Sanderson was badly mounted on a slow horse. One officer struck the animal with the flat of his sword, and sent it skittering ahead."

  3. If the "educated" people had known that Revere had told the British that resistance was waiting after he had been captured and interrogated, the inarticulate answer of Palin would have been ignored. But to now admit that Palin was right on a central question is also to admit that the vast number of people who jumped on this were ignorant, and being hoist with your own petard is not a desired outcome. That is why you see the spinning and the moving of the goalposts.

    If the pundits are so sure that Palin will not run, cannot be nominated, and cannot win, why do they obsess about her? If those on the Left and some on the Right are so sure that she is stupid and ill-informed, why the continuing search for "gotcha" moments? They seem to be trying to reassure themselves that what they want to believe is correct but subconsciously are worried that she may be very different from the portrait her political enemies have painted.

  4. Paul Revere, part 3

    "The ten British Regulars and their four or five prisoners rode down toward Lexington. "When we got into the road," Revere remembered, "they formed a circle and ordered the prisoners in the centre, and to lead me in the front." The captives remembered that the pace was "prittie smart."

    Wlth Paul Revere, the officers took special measures. He was made to mount with the others, but his reins were taken from him. Revere asked
    if he might hold the reins himself, and received a rude reply. The polished manners of these English gentlemen were beginning to wear thin.
    "God damn you, sir!" an officer said to him, "you are not to ride with reins, I assure you!" Major Mitchell in particular was showing the strain.
    He told Paul Revere, "We are now going towards your friends and if you attempt to run or "We are insulted, we will blow your brains out."

    "You may do as you please," Revere answered.

    Revere's reins were given to a sergeant who was ordered to draw his pistol, and use it to execute the major's sentence" if the captive tried to bolt. The anger and frustration of the British ReguIars were growing dangerously. Revere remembered that "I was often insulted by the officers,
    calling me damned Rebel &c. &c."

    They "were now about half a mile from Lexjngton Green" Suddenly they heard a gunshot. Major Mitchell turned in fury to his prisoner and demanded an explanation. Revere told him that it was a signal "to alarm the country." A few minutes later the riders were startled to hear the
    heavy crash of an entire volley of musketry. from the direction of Lexington's meeting house. Probably it came from a party of militiamen who were clearing their wapons before they entered the Buckman Tavern for a bit of cheer. The Regulars were apalled to hear it. Revere remembered
    that the volley "appeared to alarm them very much."

    At last the officers began to feel the full import of what Paul Revere had been telling them. His words of warning took on stronger meaning when punctuated by gunfire. The sound of a sing1e shot had suggested to them that surprise was lost. The crash of a volley appeared evidence that the country .was rising against them. As they came clorer to the Common they began to hear Lexington's town bel1 clanging rapidly. The captive Loring, picking up Revere's spirit, turned to the officers and said,"The bell's a'ringing! The town's alarmed, and you're all dead men !"

  5. Paul Revere, part 4

    "The officers halted, rode apart from their captives, and once again talked urgently among themselves. They decided that they must gallop back to warn the commanders of the marching column. To travel faster, they resolved to release their captives.

    A Young subaltern went over to Sanderson, ordered him to dismount, drew a sword, and said aplogetically, "I must do you an injury." As the officer brandished his weapon, Sanderson wondered, vhat injury? The Regulars had already made him a prisoner, taken his property and threatened hie life. What further injury remained? "I asked what he was going to do to me now?" Sanderson later wrote. The officer "made no reply I but with his hanger cut: my bridle and girth, and then mounted." Sanderson, to his amazement, found himself a free man.

    Major Mitchell released the other prisoners. He ordered his men to cut their bridles and girths and drive the horses away. Then the major rode over to Paul Revere 's guard, a sergeant of grenadiers, a big man on a little horse. The major asked if the sergeant's mount was fatigued, then gestured toward Revere and ordered, "Take that man's horre."Paul Revere was told to dismount. Brown Beauty was
    given to the sergeant. who mounted quickly. Then the Regulars turned their horses and rode off to the east at what Sanderson called "a good smart trot,"

    The liberated prisoners headed directly for Lexington Green. Paul Revere instantly began to think of capturing the men who had captured him, Sanderson remembred that they waded "through the swamp, through the mud and water, intending to arrive at the meetinghouse before they [the British officer] could pass, to give information to our people,"

    But the Regulars were moving too fast to be caught. The former captives watched as they stopped briefly near the meetinghouse, talked among themselves, then started at full gallop toward Cambridge. "We saw no more of them," Sanderaon remembered.

    It was also the last that Paul Revere saw of Brown Beauty, Deacon Larkin's splendid horse had served him nobly that night."

    from Paul Revere's Ride by David Hackett Fischer

    To say that Revere warned the British could be considered to be a understatement. He tried to scare the pants off the British.

  6. As I said a couple of days ago in a longer comment, Professor, the bottom line is this: to her detractors, critics and enemies, Sarah Palin is always wrong - even if she's right. They have invested so much into their dislike and abhorrence of her, that they are very willing to distort even history or natural science in order to prove her wrong in anything.

    I'm so glad they're the ones now with egg in their faces, and not her.

  7. It was not only the left who befouled themselves in yet another attempt at character assassination of Governor Palin. Right there in the thick of things along with Pollutico and Daily Kos were Commentary and National Review.

  8. You know how Sarah Palin said Paul Revere warned the British? Well, he did. Now, who looks stupid?

  9. Looks like Palin was right again and the Left look like fools again. And while this tempest in a teapot was occurring, Obama sat idle with three wars dragging on - one with a record death toll, the deficit heading for $15 trillion dollars, gas/food/clothing prices skyrocketing and an economy in shambles.

  10. Don't worry, Saturday Night Live will make a skit about this in which she says something completely different and obviously inaccurate, and that message will stick to her like glue. This is how the left will justify their ignorance.

  11. “But I don’t know if that’s really what Mrs. Palin was referring to.” “I would call her lucky in her comments,” McConville said.

    Every time the media tries to skewer Palin only to be proven wrong they make some similar claims, still trying to discount her comments and deflect attention from their own stupidity in public. The problem is that no-one can be that consistently "lucky". At some point, it should become obvious -- even to idiots and liberal (but I repeat myself) -- that Palin is probably right rather than wrong and you better do some serious fact-checking before accusing her of mis-statements.

  12. In British history, the War of the American Colonies is considered a mistake, the result of bad judgment by King George III during his "madness" period. The reaction by the British to protests by the colonials was over the top and astonished everyone. Paul Revere was warning those troops that they didn't understand what they were in for and that they were making a mistake hoping to get them to turn back.

    One of the salient facts about the "Revolution" was that they never intended to break away from Britain. It was King George who declared the American colonies to be no longer in the good graces of the Crown (no longer British citizens) and subject to being treated without mercy (like the Irish).

    Our Declaration of Independence was a reaction to King George's declaration telling them that if that is the way he feels, then so be it. We will not surrender to tyranny. The British never expected that we would offer credible resistance. That is the context for Paul Revere's "tipping off" of the British. It was bold defiance.

    Those British troops limped back to Boston within a few days under constant fire from colonials firing behind trees and rocks and hounding without rest. Hey, they were warned.

  13. Yes, I know that the Revere incident was in 1775 and both declarations I referred to occurred in 1776.

  14. This is Palin's word jumble: 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.

    I've read Revere's account of the entirety of that night. Someone seems to be good at copying and pasting, but not so good on reading comprehension and analysis. Revere warned the British, or more correctly, was bragging to the British that they would soon get their just punishment after he was captured. After his famous ride to warn Hancock and Adams. Once captured, perhaps he angrily shouted the warnings of a braggart, but not warnings as the type he made on the famous ride in question. Show us where in Paul Revere's own words in the copy and paste where he "riding his horse through town to send those warning shots and bells".

    You were wrong the other day, as was Palin and you are both still wrong.It has been ages since conservatives showed the kind of honor and humility to admit when they are wrong and apologize. There is certainly no reason to think today will be any different.

    "There is not a truth existing which I fear... or would wish unknown to the whole world."
    Thomas Jefferson

  15. Andrew Malcolm is the one redeeming feature of the L.A. Times. His is a must read.

    My opinion of Dan Quale after reading this: Mensch. Make sure to read the very last sentence of this passage. All the crap he took for that teacher:

    "A classic example of this faux faux pas was in 1992 when Vice President Dan Quayle agreed to participate in a New Jersey classroom spelling bee.

    Working from a placard, Quayle corrected one sixth-grader by telling him to add an "e" to "potato." Journalists gleefully noted the spelling misteak. And Quayle's dunce hat was glued in place.

    Trouble is, that mis-spelled placard was actually written out by the classroom teacher herself, either through her own ignorance or, a few suspect, some sly political set-up. Quayle knew he hadn't written it and thought the error was the point of the lesson.

    And because the classroom spelling bit was a last-minute addition, aides who would have foreseen the everlasting damage of their boss inexplicably adding a mistake to a student's work did not know what the placard said. Quayle subsequently forbade them from explaining the error to the media, for fear of embarrassing the teacher."

  16. "'I suppose you could say that,' Leehey said. 'But I don’t know if that’s really what Mrs. Palin was referring to.'"

    In just a few short years, we've gone from "fake but accurate" to "right but wrong." Wow.

  17. Good to see you quoted in the Boston Herald on this, Professor.

    The Herald should've provided a link to your blog.

  18. LukeHandCool,

    Dan Quayle is another person who was always wrong, even when he was right.

    Remember Murphy Brown? Remember how he criticized the glamorization of single parenthood, and how he was taken to the woodshed for it by "the cultural elite"?

    A few years later, an article in The Atlantic very much vindicated him: Dan Quayle Was Right.

    It was nice to be proven right, especially after it was too late to redeem his public image.

  19. You know Paine I don't care. Palin had just given 17 press conferences in four days, almost unheard of, all impromptu, answering any question asked. She had talked to innumerable people. You trot out your little "word jumble" as if you think you found something important. The only thing that makes it important is that it is yet another example of a character assassination on Governor Palin, a good woman who is right about 95% of the time, has a twenty year history of accomplishment and has been the victim of three years of Alinskyite attacks like yours. How are those attacks working our for you?

  20. Whoops! I was wrong. They did mention your blog. I think I'm trying to read too many stories at once. Like a hungry sea mammal with a school of fish cornered ... have to gorge on a good news day like today ... so, got a little sloppy. If you're not going to eat that fish head, could you pass it over here?

  21. Bill,

    You have quoted my favorite part of the Boston Herald's "Ooooops, looks like Sarah wuz right after all" story, which story I will from now on personally be referring to as the, "You Betcha She Gotcha! story.

    The part you cited was the delicious little tidbit of haughty sniffing on the part of two of the local academics, Messieurs Leehey and McConville:

    . . .
    Patrick Leehey of the Paul Revere House said Revere was probably bluffing his British captors, but reluctantly conceded that it could be construed as Revere warning the British.

    "I suppose you could say that," Leehey said. "But I don’t know if that’s really what Mrs. Palin was referring to."

    McConville said he also is not convinced that Palin's remarks reflect scholarship.

    "I would call her lucky in her comments," McConville said.
    . . . .

    In a prior post on this subject here at Le·gal In·sur·rec·tion I postulated the following in reaction to a sanctimoniously-tinged comment that had been posted here by Taylor Marsh:

    I said: "Over the years, experience has taught me that nothing that will drive a leftie nuts faster than pointing out an embarrassing gap in their cultural knowledge base! Nothing!"

    I guess I am left with no choice but to posit an axiom to that postulate, one that all-to-frequently applies in the case of stuffy academics who -- while they may feel obliged to be intellectually honest -- just cannot leave it at that!

    Sez me: A stuffy academic who gruffly concedes a factual point regarding their cultural knowledge base of expertise to someone they do not like, will often try to take it right back, and usually with an irrational explanation."

    And so, at this time I would like to extend my personal thanks to Messieurs Leehey and McConville for their illustrative remarks, and especially to the latter for saying she was just "lucky."

    This incident really deserves to be memorialized in a political button . . . or perhaps better yet, a bumper sticker!

    "You Betcha She Gotcha!" would certainly a natural, no?

    Or how about, more to the point:

    "I Like Lucky!"

  22. @newton

    Yep. You're right about that.

    I was listening to Dennis Miller while I was driving once. A man called into the show and told Dennis that the left and the right were equally guilty of incivility.

    Dennis lectured him that it wasn't even close. (Paraphrasing from memory here) Dennis said:

    "No, I used to be on the left, and now I'm right of center ... and I can tell you from tons of experience that there is much, much, more hatred and incivility coming from the left."

    After he finished with the caller, Dennis suddenly recalled how he had just the day before received a friendly email from Dan Quayle asking Dennis if they could talk about working together on some charity event or something.

    Dennis said (paraphrasing again): "See ... I used to skewer Quayle in my act. I probably went after him ruthlessly more than anybody else. But he has no hard feelings about it and treats me kindly. If I had done the same thing to a politician on the left, they would have nothing to do with me"

  23. The "vagina vote" as a derogatory term? Is that how the blogger would have described Hillary's and Feinstein's & Boxer's voters? Misogyny, thy name is socialist democrat.

  24. @Trochilus

    "You betcha she gotcha."

    As they say in the U.K. -- "Class !!!"

    You and the Professor should turn that into a bumper sticker. Really, I thought some time ago it would be fun if the Professor had his readers come up with bumper stickers and then sell them. The kid who immediately put out the "Osama is dead" (however it was termed) t-shirts made over $100,000 in 24 hours over the internet.


  25. Yep, Sarah Palin was "lucky" that her statements turned out to be closer to the truth than her detractors originally thought.

    She was also "lucky" when she said "party like it's 1773". No doubt she's also been lucky in her many statements of domestic and foreign policy where she beat the Obama Administration like a drum.

    News flash: NOBODY is lucky that often. Sooner or later you have to admit that, if she's right and her critics wrong that consistently, there most be more going on here than luck.

    And hey... if she really is that lucky, well, couldn't we use a lucky President these days?

  26. There are plenty of legit criticisms of Sarah Palin; but the fact that her critics seize on something like this shows a lot more about them than her. Specifically, they're deranged.

  27. Since you approvingly cited Kessler in a prior post, then you should have no problem with his fact-check of Palin on Paul Revere. Her accounts were riddled with inaccuracies.


  28. So Revere warned the British that they weren't going to be taking away our arm by ringing those bells? I am glad we have a Professor at Cornell to help us out with our history.

  29. Who care what Kessler - WaPo, that hive of leftist derangement with a fatal attraction for attempting fixes of Virginia elections says.

    "He (Revere) also TOLD them (the British) what he had been doing that night, and WARNED that he had alarmed the militia at Lexington, and their lives would be at risk if they lingered near that town. "I shou1d have 500 men there soon," he said, adding, "if I had not known people had been sent out to give information to the country, and time enough to get fifty miles, I would have ventured one shot from you, before I would have suffered you to have stopped me."

    Paul Revere's Ride, David Hackett Fischer

  30. As others have pointed out, responding to a captor's questions after a capture one tried hard to avoid is not at all the same as having *intended* to warn them. Paul Revere rode to warn the colonists. To say that he warned the British, without even noting his primary purpose, is misleading at very best. Let's assume for the sake of argument that she didn't intend to mislead. Let's say she sincerely believed that putting words for the British in Revere's mouth, while letting his primary purpose go unmentioned, would be correctly understood by those listeners in that forum as the nuanced commentary on his actions that you claim it was? That's just as idiotic as total ignorance of Revere's mission would be, and far less likely. There is *no rational way* to consider her actions other than those of a fool. There's only a blinded-by-bias way.

  31. Let's return to reality and review what Palin said, not what others claim she said:

    "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."

    1) The record does not show, by anyone's account, that Revere told the British, "they weren't going to be taking away our arms." Is that from NRA propaganda?

    2) Palin clearly states that her account is, " ... AS HE'S RIDING HIS HORSE ... ."

    Revere did not talk to the British until AFTER his "midnight ride," and after his CAPTURE.

    3) Palin claims that Revere's warning was communicated by, " ... ringing those bell ... ."

    Revere's mission was one of secrecy; he wasn't ringing any bells, by anyone's account.

    4) Palin clearly attributes, "warning shots," to no one else but Revere.

    Revere's mission was still one of secrecy; he didn't fire ANY warning shots.

    Palin's account comes from a very wasted education, not from any facts.

  32. Sarah Palin is consistently lucky.
    Barack Obama is consistently unlucky.

  33. Interesting that Prof. McConville would think of the "lucky" explanation.

    I've taught at college level in two different cultures for over a decade and done some grilling on master's thesis committees. It is really, really "lucky" for a student to get a short answer question right with an improbable answer without knowing the subject. In fact, I've never seen it. All the correct improbable answers given have been due to knowledge that the common person doesn't have.

    The scary thing is that this guy is a professor of history and has students whose futures depend on his fairness in judging them. If he doesn't like them, he can grade them down, especially on essay tests, and give poor references in accordance with his "lucky" guess theory of teaching.

    Sarah Palin has major push back capability. His students do not.

  34. The scary thing is that a professor would find anything about Palin's statement accurate. Revere didn't ride through Concord warning the British of anything. In fact he was known for warning the Citizens of Lexington that the British were coming. After being seized by the British, he may have told them about the 500 Americans, but he was never known for this. It's like saying that Edison was known for the Kinetophone. Yes, Edison did invent it, just like Revere may have warned the British about the Americans, but neither considers this their prouder moment. Revere might also have had blue eyes, but had Palin said that Revere was known for having blue eyes, she would have been wrong.

    Palin never had a lucky guess, or a correct answer, she just didn't know her history. Any Professor that would argue differently needs to read Revere's own account.

    What saddens me, is that very well-educated people sink to defending her. Why would you ever want to defend her terrible logic and her complete lack of historical knowledge?

  35. Palin - part 1

    “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.” Palin's words, June 2, 2011

    He (Paul Revere, Paul de Revoire)
    warned (Paul) "Revere served for years as the principal rider for Boston's Committee of Safety" Encyclopedia Britannica, v. 10, p.8;
    "In the year 1773 I was imployed by the Select men of the Town of Boston to carry the Account of the Destruction of the Tea to New-York; and afterwards, 1774, to Carry their dispatches to New-York and Philadelphia for Calling a Congress; and afterwards to Congress, several times. In the Fall of 1774 & Winter of 1775 I was one of upwards of thirty, cheifly mechanics, who formed our selves in to a Committeefor the purpose of watching the Movements of the British Soldiers, and gaining every intelegence of the movements of the Tories. We held our meetings at the Green-Dragon Tavern. We were so carefull that our meetings should be kept Secret; that every time we met, every person swore upon the Bible, that they would not discover any of our transactions, But to Messrs. Hancock, Adams, Doctors Warren, Church, & one or two more." Col. Revere's Letter - A Letter from Col. Paul Revere to the Corresponding
    Secretary Jeremy Belknap
    the British "I observed a Wood at a Small distance, & made for that. When I got there, out Started Six (British) 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 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. He imediately rode towards those who stopped 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" Col. Revere's Letter - A Letter from Col. Paul Revere to the Corresponding Secretary Jeremy Belknap
    that they the British, Paul Revere would not have cried The British are coming! during his famous midnight ride. In those days, colonists were all British. If he uttered anything, it was more likely The Regulars are out! British soldiers were known as Regulars, Redcoats or Lobsterbacks. http://www.thefreedomtrail.org/visitor/old-north-church.html
    weren't going to be
    taking On April 16, 1775 (Revere) rode to nearby Concord to urge the patriots to move their military stores, which were endangered by pending British troop movements. Encyclopedia Britannica, v. 10, p.8;
    away British were confiscating colonial arms.
    our minutemen, whigs, Committee of Safety, Sons of Liberty

  36. arms "on the night of preceeding the 19th of April instant, a body of the King's troops, under the command of Colonel Smith, were seceretly landed at Cambridge, with an apparent design to take or destroy the military and other stores provided for the defense of this colony, and depositied at Concord" From an account written by Joseph Warren, April 26, 1775, president of the Masachusetts Provincal Congress. Annals of America, v.2, p. 325
    For many months before Paul Revere made his ride, tension between the Colonists and British Troops had been on the rise, both in the city and in surrounding towns. The Royal Government (the British government in Massachusetts) wanted to ensure that troops would be able to secure the colony in case of rebellion. Orders went out to confiscate weapons that the Colonists had been storing throughout the countryside.
    Several parties of British troops had been sent up the coast to confiscate ammunition in Salem and parts of what is now New Hampshire. In both of those cases, Paul Revere and other riders who were members of the Sons of Liberty, alerted the townspeople of the movement of British troops well before those troops could reach their destinations. The munitions were successfully hidden and the British troops were humiliated.
    British had been confiscating small personal arms in the city of Boston all the while.
    by ringing those bells "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." from Paul Revere's Ride by David Hackett Fischer
    In addition to other express riders delivering messages, bells, drums, alarm guns, bonfires and a trumpet were used for rapid communication from town to town, notifying the rebels in dozens of eastern Massachusetts villages that they should muster their militias because the regulars in numbers greater than 500 were leaving Boston, with possible hostile intentions. This system was so effective that people in towns 25 miles (40 km) from Boston were aware of the army's movements while they were still unloading boats in Cambridge. Fischer
    making sure
    as he's riding his horse "Revere was ordered to dismount.... Suddenly they returned to Revere, and ordered him to mount." Fischer. Revere was mounted, then dismounted for most of the interchange with the Regulars, then remounted. The horse in question was "Brown Beauty, Deacon Larkin's splendid horse had served him nobly that night." who was likely ridden to death by the Regulars after they took it.
    through town Riding through present-day Somerville, Medford, and Arlington. Before the night was over as many as 40 riders were out sounding the alarm which included bells, drums abd gunshots
    to send those as riders passed through towns a clamor of drums, gunshots and bells warned citizens
    warning shots "Trull rose from his bed and took up his musket. Still in his nightdress, he fired three times from his bedroom window. This was a signal previously arranged with the milita commander in the nrighboring town of Dracut" Fischer (or)
    "He rode directly to the house of Captain Isaac Hall, commander of Medford's minutemen, who instantly triggered the town's alarm system. A Townsman remembered that "repeated gunshots, the beating of drums, and the ringing of bells filled the air." Fischer

  37. Palin - part 3

    and bells "Hannah Winthrop, who lived near Harvard Yard, remembered that she was awakened by "beat of drum and ringing bell", a few hours before dawn. These were drums and bells that British Regulars themselves had begun to hear with growing concern, as the hurried on their way." Fischer
    that we were
    going to be free "These are the times that try men's souls: The summer soldier and the sunshine patriot will, in this crisis, shrink from the service of their country; but he that stands it now, deserves the love and thanks of man and woman. Tyranny, like hell, is not easily conquered; yet we have this consolation with us, that the harder the conflict, the more glorious the triumph. What we obtain too cheap, we esteem too lightly: it is dearness only that gives every thing its value. Heaven knows how to put a proper price upon its goods; and it would be strange indeed if so celestial an article as FREEDOM should not be highly rated."
    Thomas Paine
    we were going to armed Assembly, Faneuil Hall, Massachusetts Colony, September 12-13, 1768:

    "Upon a Motion made and seconded, the following vote was passed by a very greta Majority, viz. whereas, by an Act of Parliament, of the first of King William and Queen Mary, it is declared, that the Subjects being Protestants, may have arms for their Defence; It is the Opinion of this town, that the said Declaration is founded in Nature, Reason and sound Policy, and is well adapted for the necessary Defence of the Community. And Forasmuch, as by a good and wholesome Law of this Province, every listed Soldier and other Householder (except Troopers, who by Law are otherwise to be provided) shall always be provided with a well fix'd Firelock, Musket, Accouterments and Ammunition, as in said Law particularly mentioned, to the Satisfaction of the Commission Officers of the Company; and as there is at this Time prevailing Apprehension, in the Minds of many, of an approaching War with France: In order that the Inhabitants of this Town may be prepared in Case of Sudden Danger: voted, that those
    of the Inhabitants, who may at present be unprovided, be and hereby are requested duly to observe the said Law at this Time."
    Boston Chronicle, September 19, 1768
    " 6) As firearms have been manufactured in several parts of this colony, we do recommend the use of such, in preference to any imported. And we do recommend the making of gunlocks, and furniture (ie. gunstocks) and other locks, with other articles in the iron way. 7) We do also ernestly recommend the making of saltpeter, as an article of vast importance to be encouraged, as may be directed hereafter. 8) That gunpowder is also an article of such importancethat every man among us who loves his country must wish the establishment of manufactories for that purpose, and, as there are the ruins of several powder mills, and sundry persons among us who are acquainted with that business, we do heartily recommend its encouragement by repairing one or more of said mills, or erecting others, and renewing said business as soon as possible. Resolutions adopted by Massachusetts Provincal Congress, December 8, 1774
    In a letter to Lord Dartmouth from General Gage, summer 1774, Gage said" In Worcester (Massachusetts) they keep no terms; openly threatening resistance by arms; have been purchasing arms, preparing them; casting balls; and providing powder." "By (1774) the providence swarmed with thousands of what were called "minute men, i.e. to be ready at a minutes warning with a fortnight's provision and ammunition and arms"
    The Minute Men, J. Galvin, 1967

  38. @viator Thanks for the in depth treatment.

    @muriel Interesting that you think teaching history is only about saying what is most commonly known about a person or event. Simplicity and stereotyping all at once.

    Muriel's Thomas Edison is not to be known as a brilliant inventor who overflowed with creativity.


    Truth is not a defense. No one is to mention Edison for anything but the invention Muriel knows him for. Narcissistic history lives.

  39. BTW this is pretty clearly ALinskyite maneuvering. Hold an opponent up to a standard of perfection that none of the left's candidates or heroes could ever meet, parsing every word and statement in a hostile fashion.

    Gosh, lefties, you caught a grammatical error. I guess your failed and destructive economic policies have suddenly become correct and we should all vote for President "57 States" and "Profit and earnings ratio" now.

    Really? Really?

  40. I wouldn't call Palin "lucky". She had just toured the North Church so she was repeating back what she had just learned. So it was much more accurate than anyone would be if they relied on, say, the Longfellow poem, as most seem to have done.

    My quibble though is that while generally accurate, she did kind of garble the facts together. George Bush also tended to do the same thing. I never thought he was stupid. I always attributed it to a) nerves being put on the spot and b) past experience being raked over the coals for every misspeak.

    What a person may know and what might come out of their mouths in an off the cuff moment are not necessarily related. I should know. I am one of those people whose mouth regularly betrays me in spite of my best intentions.

    Is this a good trait in a politician? It makes me wonder how they get into the line of work in the first place and how they succeed from there. But one doesn't need to be able to talk eloquently in order to govern well, do they?