The Significance of Paul Revere’s Famous Words

Paul Revere, a prominent silversmith in colonial Boston, is remembered for his daring midnight ride that played a crucial role in the American Revolution. While there is no concrete evidence to support the popularized phrase “The British are coming, the British are coming!” attributed to Revere, his mission was undeniably significant.

Revere’s midnight ride took place on the night of April 18, 1775. The purpose of this clandestine journey was to warn the Patriots, Samuel Adams and John Hancock, that British troops were en route to Concord with the intention of arresting them. This warning provided Adams and Hancock with the opportunity to evade capture and contributed to the successful resistance against British forces.

The situation in colonial America at that time was tense, with growing resentment towards British rule. The Patriots were actively organizing and preparing for a potential armed conflict with the British army. Revere, being a member of the Sons of Liberty and a trusted messenger, was chosen to undertake this perilous mission.

Setting out from Boston, Revere rode through the countryside, alerting colonists along the way about the impending British troops. However, it is important to note that Revere did not actually shout the famous phrase attributed to him, as it would have been counterproductive to his mission. Instead, he discreetly spread the message that the regular troops, a term used to refer to British soldiers, were advancing.

Revere’s ride covered a distance of around 20 miles from Boston to Concord. His warnings enabled the Patriots to take necessary precautions, such as moving military supplies and organizing the local militias. This early notification proved crucial, as it allowed the Patriots to be better prepared for the ensuing battles of Lexington and Concord, which marked the beginning of the American Revolutionary War.

While Revere’s ride is widely celebrated, it is important to acknowledge that he was not the only rider that night. William Dawes and Dr. Samuel Prescott also played significant roles in spreading the warning. However, Revere’s name has become synonymous with this event due to his later writings and his stature as a well-known figure in the community.

Paul Revere’s midnight ride served as a vital catalyst in the American Revolution. Though the exact words he said are not definitively known, his actions in warning Adams and Hancock, as well as the general population, played a crucial role in shaping the course of history. Revere’s bravery and dedication to the cause of American independence make him a revered figure in American folklore and history.

What Did Paul Revere Say As He Rode To Warn The Colonists?

As Paul Revere rode to warn the colonists about the impending attack by the British troops, he is believed to have shouted phrases to alert the people. While the exact words he used are not historically documented, it is unlikely that he would have exclaimed, “The British are coming, the British are coming!” as commonly depicted in popular culture. Instead, he probably yelled something along the lines of “The regulars are coming out!” or “The regulars are marching!” The term “regulars” was commonly used by the colonists to refer to the British soldiers. Revere’s aim was to warn the patriots discreetly, as he wanted to avoid being detected by the British patrols. Therefore, shouting “The British are coming!” would have been counterproductive since many colonists still considered themselves British subjects at that time. Instead, he would have used terminology that would have been understood by the colonists without alerting the British soldiers of his mission.

While the historical accuracy of Revere’s exact words may be debatable, it is important to remember that the significance of his midnight ride lies in the act itself and its impact on the American Revolution. Revere, along with William Dawes and Samuel Prescott, rode through the night to warn the colonial militia and local communities about the approaching British troops. This event played a crucial role in rallying the colonists and preparing them for the battles that would follow, ultimately contributing to the fight for American independence.


What Was The Message That Paul Revere Delivered On His Ride?

Paul Revere’s message during his midnight ride was to warn the Patriots Samuel Adams and John Hancock that British troops were en route to Concord with the intention of arresting them. The specific content of the message was to inform Adams and Hancock about the imminent threat and urge them to take necessary precautions. The urgency of the situation compelled Revere to swiftly deliver this crucial information in order to ensure the safety of the Patriot leaders and their cause.

The message delivered by Revere can be summarized as follows:

1. British troop movement: Revere conveyed the news that a large contingent of British troops, approximately 700 soldiers, were marching towards Concord. This information aimed to alert Adams and Hancock about the immediate threat posed by the British military.

2. Intention to arrest: Revere emphasized that the primary objective of the British troops was to apprehend Adams and Hancock. This was a significant detail as the Patriots’ leaders were seen as key figures in the resistance against British rule.

3. Urgency and need for action: The main purpose of Revere’s ride was to emphasize the urgency of the situation. His message stressed the importance of immediate action to ensure the safety of Adams, Hancock, and the Patriot cause. Revere likely urged them to take necessary precautions, such as going into hiding or mobilizing their forces.

The message delivered by Paul Revere during his midnight ride was a warning to Samuel Adams and John Hancock about the approach of British troops and their intention to arrest them. The urgency of the situation called for immediate action to protect the Patriot leaders and their cause.


Paul Revere played a crucial role in the early stages of the American Revolution through his famous midnight ride. As a skilled silversmith and dedicated Patriot, he risked his life to warn Samuel Adams and John Hancock of the imminent threat posed by the British troops marching to Concord. While the exact words he shouted during his ride may be shrouded in myth, there is no doubt that his actions were instrumental in mobilizing the colonial militia and galvanizing the fight for independence. Paul Revere’s bravery and determination serve as a reminder of the important role individuals can play in shaping history.

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William Armstrong

William Armstrong is a senior editor with, where he writes on a wide variety of topics. He has also worked as a radio reporter and holds a degree from Moody College of Communication. William was born in Denton, TX and currently resides in Austin.