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Silversmith Paul Revere took part in the Boston Tea Party and famously alerted the Lexington Minutemen about the approach of the British in 1775.
Paul Revere - Mini Biography (3:13)
Paul Revere - Full Episode (42:40)
Paul Revere took part in the Boston Tea Party and was principal rider for Boston's Committee of Safety. He devised a system of lanterns to warn the minutemen of a British invasion, setting up his famous ride on April 18, 1775.
Alan Rogers claims that Paul Revere never said, "The British are Coming!" but that he did say, "One if by Land, Two if by Sea."
Paul Revere, the "Messenger of the Revolution," also used his skills as an artist to make political cartoons denouncing the crown.
The full biography of Paul Revere.
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Born January 1, 1735, Paul Revere was a silversmith and ardent colonialist. He took part in the Boston Tea Party and was principal rider for Boston's Committee of Safety. In that role, he devised a system of lanterns to warn the minutemen of a British invasion, setting up his famous ride on April 18, 1775.
"The regulars are coming out! The regulars are coming out!"
"I proceeded immediately and was put across Charles River and landed near Charlestown Battery, went in town, and there got a horse."
"We were so careful that our meetings should be kept secret that every time we met, every person swore upon the Bible that they would not discover any of our transactions but to Messrs. Hancock, Adams, Doctors Warren, Church and one or two more."
"In the winter, towards the spring, we frequently took turns, two and two, to watch the soldiers by patroling the streets all night."
"If the British went out by water, we would show two lanterns in the North Church steeple, and if by land, one, as a signal."
"I set off upon a very good horse; it was then about 11 o'clock, and very pleasant."
"In Medford, I awaked the captain of the Minutemen, and after that, I alarmed almost every house till I got to Lexington."
"I was a constant and critical observer of [Dr. Church], and I must say, that I never thought him a man of principle, and I doubted much in my own mind whether he was a real Whig."
"If a man will risk his life in a cause, he must be a friend to that cause."
"I asked the Major to dismiss me, he said he would carry me, let the consequence be what it will. He then ordered us to march."
Folk hero Paul Revere was born January 1, 1735, in Boston, Massachusetts. He was the son of Apollos Rivoire, a French immigrant who'd come to America on his own at the age of 13, and Deborah Hichborn, a Boston native and the daughter of an artisan family.
Apollos, who changed his name to the more English-sounding Paul soon after arriving in America, was an artisan himself. After a long apprenticeship with a goldsmith, the elder Revere set up a shop of his own in the sometimes rough North End section of Boston. When he was old enough, his son Paul, the eldest of seven children, apprenticed with him.
By all accounts, the young Revere was a serious and committed artisan. When he was 19, tragedy struck when Revere's father died, leaving his son to take over his business and support his mother and siblings. Soon, Revere also had his own family to care for. In 1757 he married Sarah Orne, with whom he had eight children. Not long after her unexpected death in 1773, Revere married Rachel Walker, with whom he had another eight children.
Revere, who augmented his income by becoming an engraver and dentist, was the by the 1760s a master goldsmith, faring well in a city that was struggling economically, squeezed by British tax policies. His clients included both artisans like himself and the city's upper class, whose homes were adorned with Revere-made tea sets and spoons.
Even as his business did well, Revere took stock of the situation around him. As others struggled, he sensed that his own livelihood could soon be affected unless issues with the British were soon addressed.
He joined the Freemasons and befriended other activists such as James Otis and Dr. Joseph Warren. As his confidence in his leadership abilities grew, so did his responsibilities. As tensions between the colonies and the British deepened, Revere was tapped to spy on British soldiers and report on their movement.
In addition he worked as a courier for the Boston Committee of Correspondence and the Massachusetts Committee of Safety. In a brazen act of defiance, he and others dressed as Indians and dumped tea into Boston Harbor, launching what came to be known as the Boston Tea Party.
But it was his ride on April 18, 1775, that etched his name into history, especially after it was commemorated later by the poet Henry Wadsworth Longfellow. At 10 that night Revere rode to Lexington warn John Hancock and Samuel Adams of the approaching British.
The Battle at Lexington ensued, and with it, the American Revolution. During the war, Revere donned many different hats. He manufactured gunpowder and cannon for the Continental Army, printed the country's first money, and commanded Castle William at Boston Harbor.
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