Freedom: A History of US.
Webisode Menu Tools & Activities For Teachers About the Series Search This Site
Webisode 1: Independence
Introduction Segment 1 Segment 2 Segment 3 Segment 4 Segment 5 Segment 6 Segment 7 Segment 8 Segment 9

See it Now - click the image and explore
Paul Revere's ride
Segment 5
Paul Revere on horseback The Shot Heard 'Round the World

Despite the courage of men like Patrick Henry, it was frightening for Americans to think of war. England was a great power; the colonies were scattered and had little military experience Check The Source - "Our Cause Is Just". Still, it made sense to be prepared for the worst, so, New Englanders began to stockpile cannonballs and gunpowder in Concord, a small town about twenty miles northwest of Boston. When the British heard about those munitions, they decided to get them. Paul Revere, a silversmith who was one of those who wanted independence, found out that the British soldiers were getting ready to attack. He sent a spy into the British camp; the spy was to send a signal. Revere instructed: Hear It Now - Paul Revere "If the British go out by water, we should show two lanterns in the North Church steeple; and if by land, one, as a signal."

On the night of April 18, 1775, Paul Revere saw one lamp, then two, in the church belfry. Now he knew. The British—called redcoats because of their red uniforms—were taking the water route across the Charles River. Paul Revere jumped on his horse and rode hard all night, warning everyone in the countryside, Hear It Now - Paul Revere "The British are coming! The British are coming Check The Source - "Lanterns in the North Church Steeple" Check The Source - "The Midnight Ride of Paul Revere" See It Now - Paul Revere's Ride!" At Concord and at Lexington the American farmers were ready: They grabbed their guns See It Now - The colonists fight back. They were called minutemen because they could fight on a minute's notice See It Now - A Minuteman. Captain John Parker was their leader, and he spoke firmly: Hear It Now - Captain John Parker "Stand your ground. Don't fire unless fired upon. But if they mean to have a war, let it begin here."

See it Now Hear it Now Check the Source
Research Tools
Image Browser
Additional Resources
Did You Know?
The song Yankee Doodle was made famous during the Revolutionary War. It started out as a song the British sang to make fun of the colonists—a Yankee Doodle meant an unsophisticated hick! But when the Americans defeated the British at Lexington and Concord, they themselves started singing it, giving a new, positive meaning to the term Yankee Doodle!

Did you know that Freedom is adapted from the award-winning Oxford University Press multi-volume book series, A History of US by Joy Hakim?

Previous Continue to: Segment 5. Page 2
Email to a friend
Print this page