2What was the Boston Massacre? The Boston Massacre was the killing of five colonists by British regulars on March 5, 1770.It was the culmination of tensions in the American colonies that had been growing since Royal troops first appeared in Massachusetts in October 1768 to enforce the heavy tax burden imposed by the Townshend Acts.What was the Boston Massacre?
3On the same day that Parliament repealed most of the Townshend duties, a brawl broke out between soldiers and colonists in Boston.Patriots called this incident the “Boston Massacre.” A massacre is the killing of defenseless people.What really happened was a small riot.Trouble had been brewing in Boston for months before the riot.To the British, Boston Patriots were the worst trouble makers in the colonies.In 1768, the government had sent four regiments of troops to keep order in Boston.So what happened?
4Bostonians resented the British soldiers Bostonians resented the British soldiers. They made fun of their red uniforms by calling them “lobsterbacks.”Sam Adams even taught his dog to nap at the soldiers heels.Despite such insults, the troops were forbidden to fire on citizens. Knowing this only made the Bostonians bolder in their attacks.General Thomas Gage , the commander of the British army in America, wrote that “the people were as lawless….after the troops arrived, as they were before.”So what happened cont…..
7The Massacre trials ended quietly The Massacre trials ended quietly. Samuel Adams wrote several articles in the Boston Gazette during December, 1770, under the pseudonym "Vindex," that accused the soldiers of escaping with blood on their hands. But the mood had changed in Boston since the Massacre. He turned his attentions to keeping the memory of the Massacre alive, organizing annual commemorations on March 5, a tradition that lasted until 1783.Kilroy and Montgomery faced the death penalty at the sentencing on December 14, To escape execution they "prayed the benefit of clergy," a Medieval remnant of the time when clergymen were excepted from the secular courts. To receive the benefit they had only to prove they could read Psalm 51, verse 1, the "neck verse," at a time when most people were illiterate. Although illiterate himself, Kilroy was able to obtain the benefit because the reading requirement was abolished in 1705.Suffolk County Sheriff Stephen Greenleaf branded Kilroy and Montgomery on the right thumb with an "M" for murder. The brand was to prevent them from ever being able to invoke the benefit of clergy again.After his acquittal, Captain Preston removed himself from Boston to Castle William in Boston Harbor, and eventually returned to England. The soldiers returned to the Twenty-ninth Regiment, which had left Boston following the Massacre.The Trial
9Myths of the Boston Massacre Starting from the name itself, this landmark event of the American Revolution proved to be a magnet for popular myths and misconceptions.It was not called the “The Boston Massacre” until many years after it occurred in The first popular name popularized by Paul Revere was The Bloody Massacre in King Street. In the early 1800's it was also called the State Street Massacre.In many history books the dramatic shooting is described as the spark that ignited the Revolutionary War. Perhaps one of the reasons is the loss of human lives. In reality there were several other historic milestones although less dramatic, that moved Boston towards the revolution. Townshend Acts, Stamp Act and Boston Tea Party were some of them. One of the most interesting myths is that the scuffle on King’s street started from the accusations thrown at one of the British officers that he did not pay the wigmaker’s bill. This makes an interesting story and many of us may speculate that perhaps the most famous protest would not have occurred if the bill had been paid on time. But on the contrary to the popular myth, the British officer Captain John Goldfinch in fact settled his bill the day earlier.Myths of the Boston Massacre
11Massacre or self-defense? Sam Adams saw this event as a perfect opportunity to whip up anti-British feelings. He called the riot a “horrid massacre” and had Paul Revere, a local silversmith engrave a picture of it.Revere’s engraving shows soldiers firing at a peaceful, unarmed group of citizens.Massacre or self-defense?
12Paul Revere’s Engravings Paul Revere’s Engravings