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Who said, "The British are coming, the British are coming"?

Question #82834. Asked by billythebrit.
Last updated Jun 01 2021.

Related Trivia Topics: England   Quotes  
Answer has 13 votes
16 year member
124 replies avatar

Answer has 13 votes.
Apparently, Paul Revere.

"Paul Revere is best known for his "Midnight Ride" on April 18, 1775. It all happened when the British found out where the colonists hid their ammunition. So the British "Red Coats" planned to attack. When the colonists found out that the British were planning to attack, they knew that they would have to fight. In order to tell the other colonies and towns that the British were coming, they sent riders to cry out the word. The most well known rider is Paul Revere. He rode through the night yelling "The British are coming, the British are coming!" through every town."

[from 2007 article, no longer online]

Response last updated by CmdrK on Jun 01 2021.
Jul 03 2007, 8:11 AM
Answer has 14 votes

Answer has 14 votes.
Revere did spread the word, but there were several riders that night. He did not act alone. As far as "The British are coming," doubt it highly!

"The role for which he (Revere) is most remembered today was as a night-time messenger before the battles of Lexington and Concord. His famous "Midnight Ride" occurred on the night of April 18/April 19, 1775, when he and William Dawes were instructed by Dr. Joseph Warren to ride from Boston to Lexington to warn John Hancock and Samuel Adams of the movements of the British army, which was beginning a march from Boston to Lexington, ostensibly to arrest Hancock and Adams and seize the weapons stores in Concord.

Many twentieth century historians have criticized that Longfellow's poem overstates the role of Revere in the night's events, often citing the ride of Israel Bissell, who traveled 345 miles compared to Revere's nineteen. Historian Ray Raphael, in his book "Founding Myths", mentions a number of other unsung messengers, such as Samuel Tufts of East Cambridge, Dr. Martin Herrick of Medford, and other messengers who set out from Medford and Charlestown."


The most important thing to know is that he did not ride while yelling anything. He delivered a message directly to Hancock and Adams.

All of this confusion is from a poem. People conjure up their own visions because of the beautiful way Longfellow describes, in his words, that supposed night.


Editor's note:
It may be important to note as well that the "quote" (as such) does not actually appear anywhere in Longfellow's poem 'Paul Revere's Ride'. - McG

Response last updated by CmdrK on Jun 01 2021.
Jul 03 2007, 11:41 AM
Answer has 9 votes
wwefan18 avatar

Answer has 9 votes.
Paul Revere is credited with the quote, "The British are coming, the British are coming."

Revere did not shout the famous phrase later attributed to him ("The British are coming!"), largely because the mission depended on secrecy and the countryside was filled with British army patrols; also, most colonial residents at the time considered themselves British as they were all legally British subjects. Revere's warning, according to eyewitness accounts of the ride and Revere's own descriptions, was "The Regulars are coming out."

Jul 08 2007, 10:55 AM
Answer has 16 votes
Currently Best Answer

Answer has 16 votes.

Currently voted the best answer.
It was Paul Revere, William Dawes, and Samuel Prescott.

William Dawes, Jr. (April 5, 1745 – February 25, 1799) was one of the three men who alerted colonial minutemen of the approach of British army troops prior to the Battle of Lexington and Concord at the outset of the American Revolution.

Prescott was on the road at 1 A.M. on April 19, 1775 after an evening with his fiancée, Lydia Mulliken, when he met Paul Revere and William Dawes on their ride from Lexington to Concord and joined them to warn of the British attempt to seize the store of arms.

May 16 2009, 11:44 AM
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