Paul Revere’s Ride

Many children learn about the heroic ride of Paul Revere in elementary school.  They are usually expected to learn this poem, or even memorize it.  However, there are many flaws that arise in this poem about how the midnight ride actually occurred. The phrase, “the British are coming!” is one that none of the riders yelled.  There was still a large percentage of the population that was loyal to the crown, so this operation had to be in secret.  Not only that, but Revere was only one out of nearly forty people who sent out the alert.  The main leaders were Revere, Prescott, and Dawes; in the middle of the operation Revere was arrested so the others had to complete the task without him.  Many people see Henry Wadsworth Longfellow as the person to blame for this misunderstanding in his poem.  But, the poem was never intended for historic purposes, rather, it was used for nationalistic purposes during the time of the Civil War.