The Boston Massacre: Big Event in American History

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The Boston Massacre, also known as the Incident on King Street by the British, was a big event in American History. It was a street riot that occured on King Street between a patriot mob and British soldiers. This disaster occured on March 5, 1770. Although it was a somewhat fast event, the tension building up to the street fight was growing for many years. In 1767, before the Boston Massacre, a series of British Acts of Parliament called the Townshend Acts were passed. This was an attempt to reassert their authority over the colonies, through strict provisions for the collection of revenue duties (Townshend Acts).

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This act put forth extra taxes on regular products that came to the colonies, items such as paper, glass, and tea. According to Boston Massacre Historical Society, a year after establishing the Townshend Acts, two years before the massacre, …a group of British regulars arrived in Boston, MA to maintain order. The civilians reacted to the redcoats like they were invaders by taunting them through name calling, spitting, and fighting. The people of Boston had gained control of the reigns of power and prevented the soldiers from carrying out their duties. Over 2,000 British soldiers came to Boston in order to make sure everything was in check in a city with over 16,000 colonists. There, they tried to enforce Britain’s tax laws. American colonists rebelled against the taxes they found repressive, rallying around the cry, no taxation without representation’ (Boston Massacre).

The colonists did not appreciate the British being there. The colonists resorted to calling the British soldiers names, starting fights and treating them badly. This of course created severe tension between them, which led to the Boston Massacre. Furthermore, according to Boston Massacre, On February 22, a mob of patriots attacked a known loyalist’s store. Customs officer Ebenezer Richardson lived near the store and tried to break up the rock-pelting crowd by firing his gun through the window of his home. His gunfire struck and killed an 11-year-old boy named Christopher Seider and further enraged the patriots. Several days later, a fight broke out between local workers and British soldiers. It ended without serious bloodshed but helped set the stage for the bloody incident yet to come. Although the intentions of the customs officer were initially good, it resulted in the death of a child and drove the Patriots to wanting to rebel. There were many instances where a rebellion could’ve taken place, such as the fight between the workers and soldiers. All of the attacks and fights that were happening didn’t help the tension, it made it much worse. Eventually, the breaking point was reached.

On March 5, 1770, there was only one soldier, Private Hugh White, guarding the King’s money in a house on King Street. Since there was only one soldier, Colonists came and threatened him. After dealing with the colonists insulting him for a while, he finally retaliated and hit a colonist with his weapon. This raged the other colonists, and they began to pelt snowballs, ice and stones at White. Bells, a typical sign of fire, rang throughout the city, sending tons of colonists into the streets. People kept attacking White, so he calls out for backup. Captain Thomas Preston and other soldiers arrived and were prepared to fight. While some colonists were scared of the soldiers and begged them not to fire, other colonists provoked them to fire. Inevitably, violence struck, and the colonists began to attack the soldiers with sticks and other weapons. Reports differ of exactly what happened next, but after someone supposedly said the word fire, a soldier fired his gun, although it’s unclear if the discharge was intentional (Boston Massacre). After this first shot, other soldiers began to fire, following the lead of the others, and they ended up killing five and injuring six colonists.

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The Boston Massacre: Big Event in American History. (2019, Aug 02). Retrieved November 30, 2022 , from
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