Boston Massacre

Boston Massacre The British had decided in 1763 to keep an army in the colonies and to tax the colonists to pay for it. Then the British Parliament passed the Quartering Act in 1765. Colonists had to house British soldiers and give each one candle and five pints of beer a day. Go back to England!! the townspeople yelled as 4,000 Redcoats got off their ships, and marched through the streets of Boston. It was 1768 and the Redcoats moved to Boston to make sure the people there paid their taxes. For two years the Redcoats were there, they threatened each other, fist fights broke out, townspeople threw eggs at the Redcoats, people trained their dogs to bite the Redcoats, and people also called them names.For instance, kids called them lobster backs and bloody backs.

Also, it was very crowded onthe streets, because there was about 20,000 people in Boston. By Sunday night, March 4th, 1770, Boston was boiling… A little after eight, soldiers, armed with cudgels and tongs, emerged from Murray’s Barracks near the center of the town. To the surprise of almost no one, a crowd– composed largely, a hostile witness said, ‘of saucy boys, Negroes, and mulattoes, Irish Teagues and outlandish Jack Tars’– Gathered and traded insults with the soldiers. In the center of this crowd an imposing man who was no stranger to ‘white people’s quarrels.’ His name was Crispus Attucks, and he was a Massachusetts native who had escaped from slavery ans sailed the seas.

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Tall, brawny, with a look that ‘was enough to terrify any person,’ Attucks was well known around the docks in lower Boston. Needless to say, he was not a proper Bostonian, a fact that has pained innumerable historians. He was instead a proper rebel, a drifter, a man who loved freedom and knew what it was worth. He was about forty-seven on this memorable night, and he had that undefinable quality called presence. When he spoke, men listened.

Where he commanded, men acted… It was Attucks, according to eyewitnesses, who shaped and dominated the action on the night of the event known to history as the Boston Massacre. And when the people faltered, it was Attucks, according to almost all contemporary reports, who rallied them and urged them to stand their ground. The people, responding to his leadership, stood firm; so did the soldiers. The two sides exchanged insults, and a fight flared.

Attucks, who seems to have been everywhere on this night, led a group of citizens who drove the soldiers back to the gate of the barracks. The soldiers rallied and drove the Boston crowd back. On March 5th, British troops were quartered in the city to discourage demonstrations against the Townshend Acts which imposed duties on imports to the colonies. As a result of the constant harassment and some boys in their teens who began throwing snowballs(some with rocks in them), the Redcoats had to start defending themselves. They began to fire at the colonists.

Once the smoke cleared from the guns, five townspeople were dead, and others were hurt. The people who died were: Crispus Attucks, killed by two snowballs entering his head, Samuel Gray, a worker at a rope walk was killed also by two snowballs entering his head, James Coldwell, a mate on an American ship was killed instantly when two snowballs entered his back, Samuel Maverick, who was a young seventeen year old male was mortally wounded and died the next morning, and Patrick Carr, a feather maker died as well. Paul Revere created a woodcut of the massacre. The woodcut was a Masterpiece of Propaganda meaning it was a lie. The woodcut was copied and sent throughout the colonies. Attached was this poem: Unhappy Boston! See thy sons deplore.

Thy hallowed walk besmear’d with guiltless give! The woodcut caused colonists to want independene. The eight soldiers and their commanding officer, were tried for murder, and were defended by the American lawyers John Adams and Josiah Quincey. Two were declared guilty of manslaughter and after claiming benefit of clergy were branded on the thumb; the others including the officer, were acquited. The funny thing about the Boston Massacre was that there was not a massacre at all, but a street fight between a Boston mob and a squad of British soldiers. It was called a ‘massacre’ because several colonists were killed by the soldiers.

The name was invented by speechmakers and used tohelp stir the anger of the crowds. The Boston Massacre was one of the events which led up to the Revolutionary War.