Paul Revere's Ride
'The British are coming! The British are coming!' The words are attributed to a patriot in the American Revolution, Paul Revere. His fame comes from those lines as he warned his fellow colonists that the British were coming. However, he never actually yelled those words. In fact, yelling out would have been dangerous. Nevertheless, he did warn the colonists about the British.
He was most likely involved in the Boston Tea Party as well as the Boston Massacre, which both took place during the American Revolution. The war took place between 1765 and 1783 between the thirteen colonies in America who joined together for independence from England.
It was April of 1775 and the British Army had set up camp in Boston and there was word that they were going to come after the Sons of Liberty and other American Patriots.
The Sons of Liberty was a secret society created within the 13 colonies with the purpose of protecting the rights of colonists and to fight the unfair taxes imposed on the citizens by the British government. The American Patriots included other names such as Revolutionaries, Continentals, Rebels, and American Whigs, and were colonists who rebelled against the British, and eventually helped with the founding of the United States of America as the country became an independent nation in July of 1776.
Paul Revere was involved in the Sons of Liberty, which also included other famous Americans such as John Adams (future President), John Hancock, Patrick Henry, and Samuel Adams. The secret group was watching the British closely so they could warn the colonists if there was to be an attack.
Paul Revere and another rider, William Dawes, were the main riders chosen to issue a warning. The two first went to Lexington (in Massachusetts), but traveled on two different routes. Revere went across the Charles River through Charlestown and then reached Lexington. Dawes took a different route in the hopes that one of the riders would arrive safely to warn Adams and Hancock. Along both route, other riders would be informed as well to pass along the warning throughout the areas.
A second warning system was set up by Paul Revere as a backup plan. He had Robert Newman light lanterns inside a steeple of a church to alert colonists in Charlestown. If one lantern was lit it would mean the British were coming by land, and if two were lit, they would be coming by sea. The plan is the source of the still famous phrase: 'One if by land, two if by sea.'
During the night of April 18 - 19, 1775 the British did begin their advance on the city of Lexington, and since two lamps were lit, the British would be coming by sea. Revere and Dawes learned of the news by Dr. Joseph Warren. The two set out and Revere was the first to arrive in Lexington followed about 30 minutes later by Dawes. They warned Hancock and Adams and then went to Concord to warn the militia there. They were both captured by the British soldiers but then they escaped.
Revere walked back to Lexington and helped Hancock and his family escape from Lexington. Though Paul Revere never said the words aloud, 'The British are coming!', he did warn the colonists and the militia and helped them fight off the British army's first attack. Revere did not become famous until nearly 100 years later, when in 1861, poet Hendy Wadsworth Longfellow wrote a poem about the ride.
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