Did Paul Revere say "The British are Coming"?

Is it truth or myth?

Most people who have read some Revolutionary history probably know that already. It’s a well-known myth, like young Washington chopping down the cherry tree or Abner Doubleday inventing baseball. Nevertheless, more people are probably familiar with the mythical phrase “The British are coming!” than with what Revere and witnesses recalled him actually saying.

In April 1775, when Revere rode, Britain’s American colonists still thought of themselves as British. Indeed, the message their political leaders had tried to project for ten years was that they were standing up for traditional British liberties, and were thus being more patriotically British than the corrupt officials in London. It wouldn’t make sense for one British man to tell another, “The British are coming!”

Another account was:

There are also incidents of the phrase being used later, such as when the Revolutionary War moved to New Jersey, and in the War of 1812 at Connecticut. It made sense for Americans to shout, “The British are coming!” after the population had broken with Britain and defined themselves as not-British. And since all our stories describing people saying, “The British are coming!” date from after the War of 1812, we have to consider whether people might have projected the language and outlook of that period back onto the start of the Revolution.

More likely he yelled “the Regulars are coming!!”

A young relative of my ex’s (she’s probably not so young now) did some historical research, and concluded that Paul Revere didn’t even make the ride he is credited with. I can’t remember the details now - I just heard it from her father, I never met her.

Actually he was shouting a lot of four letter words, so the historians changed to more “acceptable” language. :biggrin:

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Marie Antionette didn’t say “let them eat cake” either, at least not in the way we interpret it.

During the Battle of the Bulge when the Germans demanded surrender, Brig. General Anthony McAuliffe was historically quoted as responding: “Nuts.” But according to one of my high school history teachers, it was actually: “F— off.”

I heard it was “The Redcoats are coming.” Because they still considered themselves British at the time. Oh, and he was drunk, too. :yes: According to my 8th grade history teacher, that is.

Yeah, I was just thinking, that was more likely what he said, because I believe that’s how they referred to the British soldiers in those times.

Me too. Wasn’t it the red coat’s vs the gray coats? After you open the link, it took me to an interesting article.

RED AND GRAY. - Article Preview - The New York Times

[quote=“Susanna, post:3, topic:17013”]
A young relative of my ex’s (she’s probably not so young now) did some historical research, and concluded that Paul Revere didn’t even make the ride he is credited with. I can’t remember the details now - I just heard it from her father, I never met her.
[/quote]The way I remember it was that Paul Revere only rode part way and others actually finished the ride.

Yes Paul Revere did make his ‘midnight run’ up to Concorde as that was where the armory was. Now if his actual words are ‘The British are Coming’ is debatable. But he is responsible for alerting the milita to prepare, and that my friends, is undeniable fact.

Could you imagine what would have happened if the British managed to reach the armory first? The revolution would have been cut down, before it even got started.