HOW TO MAKE A NAME IN HISTORY
(Without Actually Doing Anything)
If “practice, practice, practice” is the way to get to Car...
(For the record, Dr. Samuel Prescott and William Dawes did an infinitely better job than
Revere in warning the local milit...
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HOW TO MAKE A NAME IN HISTORY (Without Actually Doing Anything)

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Ever wonder how some foks got famous for doing (next to) nothing? It's simple! They had a good PR team behind them. It's the "American way."

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HOW TO MAKE A NAME IN HISTORY (Without Actually Doing Anything)

  1. 1. HOW TO MAKE A NAME IN HISTORY (Without Actually Doing Anything) If “practice, practice, practice” is the way to get to Carnegie Hall, how do you get yourself into history books? Start with a good public relations team. It worked for Paul Revere and Betsy Ross. It might work for you! For example, there’s not a single thread of evidence that Betsy Ross had anything to do with creating the first American flag. In fact, it wasn’t until 93 years after that first flag flew that a gentleman named William Canby first spun the tale of Betsy Ross for the Historical Society of Pennsylvania. According to Canby, a delegation from the Continental Congress, headed by General George Washington, came to Ross and asked her to design a flag for the new nation. Nice story. Bad facts. First, Canby just happened to be Ross’s grandson. Secondly, he was unable produce any evidence beyond the “recollections” of his own family members. Finally, since Washington was not a member of Congress, he would not have led any Congressional delegations. 20 years later, however, the Ross story got an incredible shot in arm when a Philadelphia artist named Charles M. Weisgerber got involved. In 1893, he painted “The Birth of Our Nation’s Flag” with Ross, bathed in sunlight, showing her flag to Washington, Robert Morris and George Ross. The image struck a chord with the public. Weisgerber made a small fortune selling copies and Canby’s tall tale about his grandmother became a history book staple for the next hundred years. (A better bet for the creator of the first American flag would be Francis Hopkinson of New Jersey. Hopkinson had already designed the Great Seal of the United States and he did submit a bill to Congress for flag design. He did not, however, get paid.) That brings us to Paul Revere. Whatever else Revere did in his life, he did not gallop from Boston to Concord yelling “the British are coming” at the top of his lungs. For starters, most colonists considered themselves to be British. Yelling that the British were coming wouldn’t have made any sense to anyone. Moreover, Revere got stopped and detained by British troops outside Lexington and his horse was confiscated. The Boston silversmith ended his “midnight ride” by walking all the way back to Boston. . Enter Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, 85 years after the fact. Seeking to galvanize his fellow Unionists about what he saw as the inevitable coming of Civil War, Longfellow’s 1860 poem, “Paul Revere’s Ride,” played fast and loose with the truth but in the process, it made Revere far more famous than any of his silver spoons and teapots ever had.
  2. 2. (For the record, Dr. Samuel Prescott and William Dawes did an infinitely better job than Revere in warning the local militias about the advance of British regulars seeking to seize their powder and shot, but Longfellow chose to write about Revere.) So, if you really want to make yourself a place in history, forget Carnegie Hall. Get yourself a good public relations team, instead. ©Tom Lloyd June, 2014 2811 Ruleme Street, Apt. 806 Eustis, FL 32726 Chipshot410@yahoo.com

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