Boston Massacre Historical Society


How Townshend Acts Lead to the Increased British Military Presence in Boston

The Boston Massacre was at least partly a result of the tensions caused by British military presence in Boston. The reinforcement troops were sent by the Parliament to back the Britain’s latest attempt of increasing the tax burden on American colonies. The tax policy in question was called the Townshend Acts of 1767. In summary the Acts were to impose more taxes on common products imported into the colonies, such as paper, glass and of course tea.

The law was named after Charles Townshend the Chancellor of the Exchequer. It was designed as a smarter way to raise revenue as opposite to the heavy-handed Stamp Act passed a year earlier. The new law introduced a series of duties on common imports (such as paper, paint, glass, etc.) rather than taxing income. The law also directed the proceeds from the new duties to governors rather than colonial assemblies. But despite the new tactics the Act was also extremely unpopular causing widespread protests and the subsequent response by the Britain dissolving Massachusetts legislature. One of the most famous protest was the Boston Massacre of 1770.

Next Article: Christopher Monk, the Sixth Victim of the Boston Massacre



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