Boston Massacre Historical Society


Boston Massacre - the First Battle of the Revolutionary War

The Boston Massacre is considered by many historians to be the first battle of the Revolutionary War. The fatal incident happened on March 5 of 1770. The massacre resulted in the death of five colonists. British troops in the Massachusetts Bay Colony were there to stop demonstrations against the Townshend Acts and keep order, but instead they provoked outrage. The British soldiers and citizens brawled in streets and fought in bars. “The citizens viewed the British soldiers as potential oppressors, competitors for jobs, and a treat to social mores”. A defiant anti-British fever was lingering among the townspeople.

There are three major things that led to the Boston Massacre: First was the growing mistrust among the British soldiers and Americans. There were a number of other incidents were the British clashed with the patriots and their supporters. Individual soldiers were beaten on street corners and soldiers abused unarmed civilians. In all the Americans in Boston made it clear that the British soldiers were unwanted. The second reason is somewhat odd. The removal of two out of four regiments meant there were to inadequate amounts of soldiers to keep the peace. There were enough on the other hand to remind the patriots of the great British military. The last reason would be the revolt of the Townshend Acts. The patriots and Americans did not agree and strife with the British soldiers over it. The Act built tension between the two.

On March 5, 1770 the dreadful day came. A mob of people went in front of the Customs Office in Boston Massachusetts and started to throw stuff and give insults at the soldiers. As a result to this so-called harassment the soldiers fired on the crowd. The first to die was an African-Amercan man named Crispus Attucks. He was a native of Frainghan, Massachusetts. He escaped from slavery in 1750 and had become a sailor. Crispus Attucks is considered the first martyr of the American Independence. The four others who died were Samuel gray, a rope maker; James Caldwell, a sailor; Samuel Maverick, a seventeen year old apprentice and Patrick Carr, a leather worker and Irish immigrant. All in which were unarmed and brutally murdered.

The soldiers killed three, mortally wounded two others, and wounded six. How much harassment could they have done to deserve to be shot? The most the protesters should have gotten is to be arrested.

To please the crowds Governor Hutchinson arrested the soldiers and promised the people that there would be a trial. John Adams and Josiah Quincy took the defense of the soldiers and Preston. The soldiers went to trial in September and they and captain Preston pleaded innocent. The eight men and Preston were tried separately and only two were found guilty. The others were acquitted while the two found guilty were branded on the hand and released, an easy penalty for murder. Preston was found innocent. Adams was successful in proving the soldiers fired in self-defense. The soldiers involved in the Boston Massacre were proven innocent. “Adam proved that the soldiers fired in self-defense”.

I believe the British soldiers involved in the Boston Massacre and/or the captain Tomas Preston should have been convicted Guilty. The five deaths were unjustified and unneeded. All of the five men were unarmed at the time of the shootings. If someone throws an apple at you, you don’t shoot him or her. In a today’s court system I believe them British soldiers would have been guilty and been convicted with murder. “Adams said, the killing were justified and blamed the violence of the immigrant Patrick Carr and Crispus Attucks”.

So if Adams believes the death of the five men were blamed on them two how come they weren’t just arrested and how come the others were shot. “Adams told the jury that the illegal assembly was guilty of every crime a mob might commit”.

I don’t think the mob crimes of throwing snowballs and other stuff deserve the death penalty. The five men were shot and murdered by the soldiers. I feel the soldiers were looking for a fight. The soldiers provoked the citizen’s countless times. “British soldiers and citizens fought and clashed during the winter of 1769”. The soldiers even fired in the streets, that endangering a great number of lives. The soldiers also frequently wounded people with their bayonets and cutlasses. “The numerous instances of bad behavior in the soldiery, made us early sensible that the troops were not sent here for any benefit to the town or province, and that no good to expect from such conservators of the peace”.

The soldiers that were stationed in Boston were guilty for many other crimes. I think either the soldiers should have been guilty for firing without an order or that Preston should have been guilty for giving the order to fire. According to Liesenfelt, the eight men said they were following Preston orders and should be tried at one time. So the soldiers are saying they were following orders which means Preston is guilty. Also three black witnesses gave testimony that they did hear an order to fire by Preston. Then again a merchant said he did not hear an order. Either way the soldiers and/or Preston should have been guilty.

I think it a lot easier to miss something said than to be hearing things. So the evidence is there that Preston gave an order to fire. I feel the verdict of the trial of the Boston Massacre should have been “guilty”. The victims were unarmed and brutally murdered. I soldier enraged the citizens and were guilty of many other crimes. The order to fire give from Preston proves he’s guilty of the crime of manslaughter. My conclusion is that the soldiers and/or Preston are guilty. “Half a pale of blood had been spilled into he snow”

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