Today the alarms are being sounded again -- by those who love the ideals that formed the heart of America.

Revisiting Paul Revere’s Ride - The Alarm

By —— Bio and Archives--April 19, 2018

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Revisiting Paul Revere’s Ride - The Alarm
At this time of year in Boston, a good number of people have focused on the Boston Marathon, which was a bit chilly for participants and spectators alike recently. Yet, in April of 1775, another sort of race captured the attention of folks in Massachusetts. It was a race to alarm the people that their government had taken up arms against them. Unfortunately, the history of “Paul Revere’s Ride” has been skewered a bit—in part by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, who took liberties in bypassing some important details of the calls of alarm throughout Massachusetts on April 18, 1775.


Ironically, poets are able to get away with historical inaccuracies if their words stir passion or will, and Longfellow had a gift. Nevertheless, the ride of Paul Revere was more than he made if it, and he made it memorable. However, it is helpful to sort out the particulars of “Paul Revere’s” ride because a majority of Americans seem to have lost connection with that moment in history.

As an example, in June of 2011, during Sarah Palin’s “One Nation Bus Tour,” she was severely criticized by several mainstream media outlets for what was considered a major gaffe in misrepresenting the facts of Paul Revere’s ride.

Unfortunately, what many Americans missed at the time was the misunderstanding or misinformation provided by many media personalities regarding the wake up alarms to the colonials concerned about their government’s determination to curtail freedoms that had been enjoyed by British citizens in the Americas. In their glee to point out Palin’s limited perspective of Paul Revere’s midnight ride, they revealed their own history-challenged awareness - which should on its own be an alarm to Americans.

Sadly, the history of the United States is relegated to such things as poems from an “enlightened” artist, or a hollywood “makeover” of dramatic events, or ramblings of an agitated politician, or the malformed opinions of an indoctrinated (and indoctrinating) media elite. Much of America’s history has been distorted in the present day, and it is the people who care about history that will attempt to understand it sincerely. History should matter to everyone in any nation as it is a recording of one’s roots, and to know one’s roots, ensures some awareness of cultural identity. Such awareness can lead to cultural stability and strength, especially if the nation is rooted in self-evident truths..

In reality, Sarah Palin’s tour may have been an imperfect attempt to help Americans regain a better connection to their roots, or the stories of the founding of the nation. In her defense, Palin seemed to be trying “to revitalize the fundamental restoration of America… highlighting our nation’s heart, history, and founding principles.” Note, that whatever Palin did was usually mocked by a very cynical media. Mocking messengers is fairly easy and does not require a great deal of intelligence, but what if colonials had mocked a sincere Paul Revere?  If there had been a cynical media at the time, it is quite likely that colonists would not have taken the time to rouse from their beds to challenge the most powerful military on the planet at the time.

For many Americans familiar with Longfellow’s tribute to Paul Revere, there is a lack of awareness that by singling out Paul Revere, Longfellow disregarded a whole cadre of riders involved in warning citizens of the British troops marching on Lexington and Concord. In reality, several volunteer riders like Paul Revere, William Dawes, and Dr. Samuel Prescott, as well as others were utilized to alert their fellow citizens that the British regulars were on the march. In fact, several individual efforts initiated a unique American response to the British military’s harassment of the people.

During the late, late night of April 18th and the early morning hours of the 19th in the Spring of 1775, the cries of danger swept through the Massachusetts countryside from the midnight riders. This action was pre-planned, and not just a sporadic act of a single hero. The Americans had previously made plans and contingencies to collectively act, or react, to British troop movements, and several volunteer riders were ready to spring into action to implement such plans.

On the weekend prior to the 18th, Paul Revere had made a plan to use lighted lanterns hung in the tower of the Old North Church as signals to other riders that the British troops would be on the march, and taking a land route or one by water. Revere had not been certain he would be able to leave Boston with a British curfew in effect. However, he was able to slip away in the night and had arranged for compatriots to row him across the Charles River to get a decent head start to Lexington.

Lexington, just up the road from Boston, was the town where the British military had learned that Samuel Adams and John Hancock were located. Both men were wanted by the British government for their rebellious activities in and around the Boston area, and Adams was known to have organized the Boston Tea Party. After nightfall, British General Thomas Gage dispatched a contingent of approximately 700 regulars to arrest Adams and Hancock in Lexington, and to seize a cache of gunpowder, ammunition, and weapons reportedly stored near Concord.

A whole cadre of volunteers were utilized to warn Adams and Hancock, warn the rural people, and call the able-bodied to arms. About midnight, William Dawes, who had ridden on a different route, arrived in Lexington shortly after Revere. While Revere and Dawes made it to Lexington, neither of them made it to Concord. Though Prescott rode with the two, all three were captured by a British patrol along the road. Dawes and Prescott got away, but Dawes was thrown by his horse, and eventually only Prescott made it to Concord. Contingency plans proved valuable.

As the cries of alarm spread, ordinary folks rose from their sleep, left their beds, and braced themselves to face a formidable foe. Brave boys and men gathered their powder horns and musket and shot and made their way to Lexington Green to wait   in the cool April morning, uncertain of what would happen next because it had never happened before. These brave souls had not read a British military manual instructing the colonists that it was futile to resist.

The brave men and boys also did not have to contend with a cynical, elitist media that would have mocked the effort of people so willing to pursue freedom that they would be willing to die for such a cause. These people in America today are found in the remnants of the Tea Party and small bands and networks of conservative citizens   that have grown quite concerned about their government’s determination to curtail freedoms that have been enjoyed by American citizens in the United States today.

Today the alarms are being sounded again—by those who love the ideals that formed the heart of America. Unfortunately, their voices are being mocked and muffled by a misguided mainstream media. Or worse still, the alarms are being ignored by the people themselves. A question that must be asked at this time is whether Americans deserve to inherit the freedoms won by serious-minded citizens who were willing to die so that a new nation of freedom could be born.


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Dennis Jamison -- Bio and Archives | Comments

Dennis Jamison reinvented his life after working for a multi-billion dollar division of Johnson & Johnson for several years. Currently retired from West Valley College in California, where he taught for nearly 10 years, he now writes articles on history and American freedom for various online publications.

Formerly a contributor to the Communities at the Washington Times and Fairfax Free Citizen, his more current articles appear in Canada Free Press and Communities Digital News. During the 2016 presidential primaries, he was the leader of a network of writers, bloggers, and editors who promoted the candidacy of Dr. Ben Carson. Jamison founded “We the People” - Patriots, Pilgrims, Prophets Writers’ Network and the Citizen Sentinels Network. Both are volunteer groups for grassroots citizen-journalists and activists intent on promoting and preserving the inviolable God-given freedoms rooted in the founding documents. 

Jamison also co-founded RedAmericaConsulting to identify, counsel, and support citizen-candidates, who may not have much campaign money, but whose beliefs and deeds reflect the role of public servants rather than power-hungry politicians.  ​

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