If I were to ask one hundred Americans the question, “Who is Paul Revere?” I would probably get a wide variety of answers, but the most common would be that he was responsible for galloping through the streets of Lexington shouting, “The British Are Coming!” That would be the most common answer and that answer is full of misconceptions created by a popular poem written about his midnight ride in the mid 19th century. I remember reading and being required to memorize that poem when I was a child and because of that experience I never knew the answer to the question I proposed at the beginning of this paragraph.
So really, who is Paul Revere? Investigating the answer to that question is the entire point of this website and will be much more complex than Longfellow’s poem. In the spirit of the American Revolution, Revere has been deified to the point it seems he did not have flaws. His courage during the ride is legendary and is used as an example of American resourcefulness and bravery. Hard to believe that four years after his famous ride Revere was fighting to clear his name for cowardice and insubordination. An interesting dichotomy to say the least.
When you investigate the man pictured in John Singleton Copley’s painting you will notice his humanity and begin to separate fact from legend and that is what I seek to do. I do not wish to discredit this great American Patriot, but instead to shine the light on the truth so that we may be able to appreciate his real biography. The truth of who Paul Revere is, his midnight ride, his business acumen, skill as a craftsman, and later years is a much more interesting story then the mythical poem.