The British troops had been billeted in Boston in October 1768 after repeated requests from British customs officials, who had been harassed and intimidated because of their efforts to enforce the Townshend Acts. Numerous clashes between the soldiers and the citizenry resulted. The killings of March 5, promptly termed a “massacre” by Patriot leaders and commemorated in a widely circulated engraving by Paul Revere, aroused intense public protests and threats of violent retaliation. This pressure caused Lieutenant Governor Thomas Hutchinson to withdraw the troops to an island in the harbor.
Did You Know?
The Boston Massacre is reenacted every year on March 5th, on the actual site in front of the Old State House.
In an effort to demonstrate the impartiality of colonial courts, two Patriot leaders, John Adams and Josiah Quincy, volunteered to defend Captain Preston and his men. The prosecution produced little evidence, and Preston and six of the soldiers were acquitted; two others were found guilty of manslaughter, branded on the hand, and released. Although many Patriots criticized the verdicts and the anniversary of the Boston Massacre became a patriotic holiday, the removal of troops from Boston and the repeal of all but one of the contested import duties resulted in a lowering of tension in the years following the incident. Nevertheless, Governor Hutchinson’s reluctant removal of troops from Boston under threat of insurrection dramatized the impotence of imperial power as it was then constituted when faced with organized local resistance.
The Reader’s Companion to American History. Eric Foner and John A. Garraty, Editors. Copyright © 1991 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
It is important to keep in mind that these essays were written by students of various academic levels. They may contain inaccuracies and false information and should not be used as reference material.
Events Leading to "The Boston Massacre"
In this essay the author presents a patriotic and emotional description of the events that lead to the famous protest. The text focuses on hostile acts of oppression by King George III and hardships that were imposed on American colonies. The author however neglects to highlight economic causes behind revolutionary developments. The essay concludes that the conflict of Bostonians with British regulars was well justified.
Boston Massacre Trials
This is a more advanced essay that looks not at the Massacre itself but at the trial that followed the incident. The author does a good job setting the stage with a summary of the tragic event that lead to death of seven people. The acquittal and the guilty verdicts were the result of the evidence presented at the trial, which becomes the subject of analysis presented in the essay. In conclusion the author offers his personal view on the verdict stating that all British regulars should have been found not guilty.
Boston Massacre by Kecia Butlinm, a grade 5 student
Interestingly, in this essay the young author is sympathetic to the soldier and takes close to the heart the fact that the British soldiers were called offensive names by the rioting youth. Even though some “facts” put forth in the essay can be described as speculative, the paper provides an easy to understand account of the famous events.
Boston Massacre - the First Battle of the Revolutionary War
Boston Massacre by Jim Champagne
What Made the Boston Massacre a Massacre
The Fifth of March : A Story of the Boston Massacre (Great Episodes) -- by Ann Rinaldi;
The Boston Massacre by Hiller B. Zobel. Reissue edition (April 1996) W.W. Norton & Company; ISBN: 0393314839
The Boston Massacre (The American Adventure #10) by Susan Martins Miller (December 1998) Barbour & Co; ISBN: 1577481577
The Infamous Boston Massacre. by Robert, Smith
Short Narrative of the Horrid Massacre in Boston (Selected Bibliographies Reprint) by Boston Staff. Facsimi edition (June 1949)
Ayer Co Pub; ISBN: 0836956834
Bliven Jr.,Bruce, The American Revolution NY: Random House, 1986.
Carpenter, Allan, The New Enchantment of America Massachusetts, Chicago: Childrens Press, 1959.
Cook, Fred, The American Revolution NY: Golden Press, 1959.
Kent, Deborah, America the Beautiful Massachusetts, Chicago: Childrens Press, 1987.
Marrin, Albert, The War for Independence NY: Atheneum, 1988.
Taylor, Theodore, Rebellion Town Williamsburg, 1776 NY: Thomas Y., Crowell Company, 1973.