The story of Sybil Ludington

July 4, 2020 |

I’ve been astounded recently by the way the left has been so successful at using the phrase “hate speech” and the fear of school shootings to convince young people to demand that their own First and Second Amendment rights be taken away.

Somehow, they have managed to bamboozle a large slice of the young generation into simultaneously believing that they are wise and mature enough to start voting and even writing laws at 16; yet they are so childish and irresponsible, they can’t be trusted to touch a firearm until they’re 21, or to hear an opposing opinion without rushing to a safe space to cuddle a puppy and schmoosh Play-Doh.

When young people don’t know their rights, where those rights came from, and how much was sacrificed to secure them, it’s easy to convince them to trade them away for empty promises of comfort and security. This is the basis of all those quotes warning not to sell your birthright for a mess of pottage, a bit of advice so ancient and universal that it dates back to Esau in Genesis 25: 29-34. But leftists are still counting on young people not knowing it (no wonder they want to ban the Bible from schools.)

These days, students are taught an ugly, twisted and totally negative perversion of American history. They’re taught to hate their own magnificent heritage, and they don’t learn the most basic facts (or even what the word “pottage” means), let alone all the great stories you discover when you dig into real American history. This seems like the perfect week for a lesson in how America came to be born. And I’ll try to put it into terms they can relate to.

Maybe – possibly – today’s students vaguely recognize the name Paul Revere (although they might believe he was a slave trader. I certainly doubt they had to memorize the poem, the way we did.) But how many know there was another heroic midnight rider who warned that the British were coming, only this one was a teenage girl from Duchess County, New York?

She’s just one of many American heroes that kids don’t learn about because modern textbooks scrub history of everything interesting or inspiring in favor of leftist social and political agendas that downgrade America. They depict it as a land of nothing but racism and oppression, not as a land where people of goodwill have struggled and sacrificed for generations, constantly working to improve things by establishing justice, securing the blessings of liberty for ourselves and our posterity and creating a “more perfect union” (in the original foundational document, the writers made it clear that nothing’s perfect, but we would strive always to keep working together toward perfection.)

Kids, American history is not a list of personal grievances against people who’ve been dead for 200 years. It’s everything that ever happened to everyone before you came on the scene. Seek it out. Trust me: it can be pretty interesting, and you can actually learn things from it.

For instance: listen, my children, and you shall hear of the midnight ride of…Sybil Ludington? As the oldest of 11 children, Sybil had to take on a lot of responsibility at a young age. She was barely 16 on the night of April 26, 1777. She had just tucked all her siblings into bed when, suddenly, there came an urgent knock at the door. It was a messenger, coming to warn her father, Col. Henry Ludington, that British troops were invading.

His troops weren’t expecting an attack and were scattered all over the countryside. Gathering them meant a dangerous ride over pitch-black roads, through enemy soldiers, wild animals, and hostile Indians (sorry: “Indigenous Peoples.”) Understandably, the messenger refused an order to go. But Sybil volunteered. Her father protested, but she pointed out that only she knew where all his men lived. As any father of a strong-willed daughter (especially one named Sybil!) will recognize, he’d long since learned that arguing with her was futile. So Sybil mounted up and rode off.

It was a rainy night. The British had already set nearby Danbury, Connecticut, on fire, and the flames cast an eerie, red glow on the fog. It spurred Sybil on as she galloped from house to house, banging on doors and shouting that the British were coming. According to legend, at one point, a highway robber tried to intercept Sybil, but she raised her father’s musket and sent him running. Yet another reason why teenagers should think twice before demanding that the Second Amendment be taken away from them.

By dawn, Sybil and her horse were cold, wet and exhausted. She’d roused over 400 troops, who joined the Battle of Ridgefield and helped drive the British all the way back to Long Island Sound. Gen. Washington personally honored Sybil for her heroism.

Today, there are historic markers all along her route, and statues of her in New York and Washington (if they haven’t been torn down by historical illiterates.) But I’ll bet most young people never even heard of Sybil Ludington, a teenager much like them, except she knew what really happened during the American Revolution. Maybe it’s because nobody wrote a famous poem about her midnight ride -- even though her ride was over twice as long as Paul Revere’s. Let’s hope someone turns her story into a hip-hop musical.

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Comments 1-14 of 14

  • Sandra Wilkins

    07/12/2020 12:04 PM

    I vaguely remember about Sybil. Thank you for refreshing my memory. At the risk of Facebook prison, I will attempt to post this to Facebook.

  • JAMES GALLAGHER

    07/12/2020 10:19 AM

    i KNEW ABOUT REVERE, DAWES, AND PRESCOTT, BUT NOT SYBIL ... THANK YOU, MIKE ... LOVE THE POST. STEP ONE IN EDUCATION MUST BE CHANGING THE SUBJECT NAME BACK TO "HISTORY" INSTEAD OF SOCIAL STUDIES!

  • Mary Blythe Kearney

    07/11/2020 01:37 PM

    Thank you for sharing that. I had heard of her. There are a ton of unsung heroes in this country. Many were very young people who defended this country in the Revolutionary War, who fought in the Civil War. They were brave and not self serving. Really wake up people.

  • Susan Brought

    07/11/2020 01:14 PM

    Governor, her name is Sybil not Sarah. There’s a statue of her in my hometown of Carmel, NY

  • Ned Thomas

    07/11/2020 12:58 PM

    Is it Sybil or Sarah?

  • Linda Diamond

    07/11/2020 12:49 PM

    Thank You for sharing this. I was born and raised in upstate N.Y. and had never heard that Story. She was a very Brave Girl !!!

  • lynne jones

    07/11/2020 12:45 PM

    Great historical story and yes, it should be part of American history curriculum in all schools.

  • Ann Mary Villanueva

    07/05/2020 09:03 PM

    Thank you Gov. Huckabee for this interesting article that I enjoyed reading. Sarah Ludington was a very brave young lady! I agree with you about that students today are being taught an incomplete version of American History. Thank you for writing about an important young person every American needs to learn about.

  • Michael Minic

    07/05/2020 03:03 PM

    I believe almost all of the Sarah’s in the essay should be changed to Sybil. (That’s based on research I did in Wikipedia but no further. )

  • Paula R Carreno

    07/05/2020 01:46 PM

    Thank you for this walk back into our history too bad more people don't take the time to learn about it.

  • Debra Cole

    07/04/2020 07:02 PM

    Wow!!! We live in Dutchess County, my whole.life,and I never knew this!!

  • Jayne Cook

    07/04/2020 06:50 PM

    Is it Sybil or Sarah?

  • Susie Burlison

    07/04/2020 06:28 PM

    THANK YOU SO MUCH for this remarkable history lesson!!! I did not know this and am ashamed of my poor knowledge of American and state history. I'm in my sixties now and am doing more reading of our nation's and state's history than I ever received in school. I want to add this to my History folder. God bless you, Mike Huckabee for all you do for our nation and President!

  • Sue Wagner

    07/04/2020 10:40 AM

    I had never heard that story. Thank you so much telling us!