Doesn’t Anyone Know American History Anymore?

At a stop in Boston during her bus tour Sarah Palin made a somewhat incoherent reference to Paul Revere’s famous ride.

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.

The blogosphere pounced. As Aaron Worthing documents, Palin’s critics came out in force, lambasting and ridiculing the former governor’s suggestion that Paul Revere “warned . . . the British.” How could a former governor and vice presidential candidate be so stupid?!?

The only problem is that Paul Revere did warn the British. As William Jacobson reminds us, Revere did more than alert the colonists to the Redcoats’ approach with his famous ride.  Upon encountering British soldiers, he warned them they would be met with armed resistance.   I have no idea whether this is what Palin meant.  I’m not inclined to believe she’s an expert on the history of American Independence, and her garbled remarks certainly imply things that are not true —  e.g. Revere did not fire shots and rings bells to warn the British.  But where Palin’s incoherence leaves us guessing whether she knew what she was talking about, there is no question that her critics made blanket statements that were just plain wrong (e.g. “Paul Revere did not warn the British about anything”).  As the “Party like it’s 1773” episode demonstrated, however ignorant Palin may be, she’s hardly more ignorant of American history than many of her critics.

UPDATE: Not only do folks not know American history, but they can’t admit their errors either. Exhibit A. So Palin acts as if she gave a coherent and accurate account of Palin’s ride, while her critics continue to deny that Revere warned the British when detained. Pox on all their houses.

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