Apologists for Palin immediately struck against the "lame-stream media" laughing at their darling for getting the history wrong (again) about one of our iconic First Patriots.
There is a tiny bit of merit in their arguments, particularly the chuckles that Revere warned the British. In a sense, he actually did at one point, though it was never his intention to tell the British anything. He was captured (along with his two fellow riders, William Dawes and Dr. Samuel Prescott, who are often forgotten in retellings of the famous Midnight Ride story) by a British patrol and informed them that he had been raising the alarm and they would be met by "five hundred Americans" ready to fight.
So that part of the account Palin gave had a grain of truth to it. But her word pudding, as incoherent as it was, didn't exactly give us any indication that she was talking about that incident at all (or was even aware of it). To hear her tell it, Revere might as well have been standing on a rooftop waving his fist at the British defiantly, a patriotic glow emanating from his body, as he warned the cowering British army that they were already defeated and might as well slink back to their ships and sail away.
Beyond the comic-book glorification Palin (and so many others who adore her) have of American history, the other details of her brief blizzard of nonsense lack historical basis as well.
She seems to think Revere shot his gun and rang bells. He was both unarmed and had no bells, at least as far as the historical account goes (although some pictorial depictions of him do show him ringing what looks like a teacher's school-bell, so it's hard to tell for sure). But by all written accounts, it was the people he warned from house to house that shot the guns and range the bells, not himself.
While Revere did in fact "warn" the British (while being detained and under threat of having his brains blown out) that's a little different than Palin's embellishing it with him telling the British that "we're going to be free" and "they weren't going to be taking away our arms".
Although he was either a member of or sympathetic to the Sons of Liberty, a group of Americans who (sometimes violently) fought depredations of the British against Americans, few of them wanted independence from Britain; most of them simply wanted fairness and self-determination under British rule. So while I'm no expert on Revere, there's a good chance Revere no more wanted independence from the Crown than most of the rest of the colonists did in 1775. Up until this time, in fact, they were sending delegation after delegation to Britain petitioning to allow the colonies representation in Parliament, hardly the actions of people who hated the Crown so much they wanted complete freedom.
It wasn't until AFTER the battle at Lexington and Concord that most colonists realized that the Brits were going to ruthlessly put their foot on the Americans and thus the first serious discussion of real independence rather than self-determination took shape, leading to the Declaration of Independence a year later.
The best resource for Revere comes of course from his own accounts as well as those of his companions. The website for the Paul Revere House is here: http://www.paulreverehouse.org/index.html
It might do for Sarah Palin, as she visits all of these historic sites, to brush up a little better before spouting more word coleslaw in front of the cameras. While entertaining, we must remember that a good number of Americans consider her a leading light of Patriotic All-Americanness, and the more we encourage her by putting her ridiculous clown-show on the air and Internet the more her fans believe she's the model for their children and their children's-children. Do we really want to embolden future generations of historical know-nothings?
(Hat tip to Douglas Redecopp for pointing me to the apologist's article)