The Boston Massacre
There is much controversy over the events that occurred on March 5, 1770 in Boston, Massachusetts. On this night while guarding a Boston Custom House, a British sentry begins to be taunted by a group of boys. After reaching his breaking point the soldier hit one of the boys with his musket. Following that a crowd of fifty or sixty people began to crowd around the soldier telling him to call for help. Captain Thomas Preston was informed of the event and lead seven of his British soldiers to the Custom House to assist the sentry. Upon arriving Preston tries to calm the crowd down but all attempts failed. Next one of the British soldier fired a shot into the crowd. The shot was soon followed by other shots. All of the colonist ran and scattered away leaving five of the colonist’s dead and six wounded. Three weeks or so after the horrible event an engraving by Paul Revere began to circulate. This engraving did not show a mob of people fighting against British troops but showed a group of British troops firing at a group of innocent colonists. Many questions arise from this engraving. Why did Paul Revere put out and engraving with depicted false events. Was there anyone actually aggravating the guards? If so were the soldiers under the command of Captain Thomas Preston ordered to fire into the crowd or were they provoked to do so?
Paul Revere engraving was a very patriotic message that spread very quickly throughout the streets of Boston. In the engraving on one side there is a group of British soldiers and on the other side there is a group of colonists. The British
Paul Reveres Engraving of
The Boston Massacre
soldiers are very organized and lined up into a straight line, while the colonist are just a big crowd of people standing in the middle of the street. The British soldiers are firing multiple shoots into the crowd of colonists. The engraving shows that the colonists are not fighting back but sitting there and taking the shots. A black man named Crispus Attucks is shown in the engraving lying on the ground closest to the British soldiers, but is drawn as a white man. Regardless if he was drawn as a white man, because of his death, Crispus Attucks became the most famous black man to fight the cause of the revolution. Also illustrated in the engraving is the sign for the customs house, which is labeled Butchers Hall.
Tension had been very high between the British and the colonists ever since Parliament passed the Stamp Act, which mandated the use of stamped paper of the affixing of stamps certifying payment of tax. This tax was required on a number of items including types of commercial and legal documents like playing cards, pamphlets, newspapers, diplomas, bills of lading, and marriage licenses were required to have a stamp on the bills of sale. After forcing Parliament to repeal the Stamp Act a new act was passed entitled The Townshend Act. This act had a tax on five items: glass, whit lead, paper, paint, and tea. Following the passing of The Townshend Act colonists found a cheap way to successfully smuggle tea into their ports. Great Britain was faced with a “breakdown of law and order” (Kennedy, Cohen, Piehl pg. 88), and therefore sent two regiments of troops into Boston in 1768. “With liberty –…