IntroductionIn March of 1770 tensions were high between the American colonist and the British soldiers stationed in Boston Massachusetts. On the evening of March 5 that tension would reach a bloody boiling point resulting in what has been dubbed The Boston Massacre (referred to as the Incident on King Street by the British). This incident would turn out to be one of the major events leading to the American Revolution. The information below provides a quick resource for both adults and kids who seek fast facts like how, why and where the Boston Massacre occurred.
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Events Leading to the Boston Massacre
- In order to protect colonial officials who had the job of enforcing very unpopular British laws, including the Townshend Acts of 1767, about 4,000 British troops had been stationed in Boston.
- The British Troops, referred to as Redcoats, were present in most public places throughout Boston.
- Continual clashes among the colonists and the British soldiers, who served as a constant reminder of British dominance, raised tensions and fueled the fire for the Boston Massacre.
Boston Massacre Details
- The whole incident started when a British private by the name of Hugh White, who was standing guard duty outside the Custom house on King Street, had words with a young colonist named Edward Garrick over what White perceived to be an insult to a British officer. This resulted in White striking the young colonist in the head with his musket.
- After the initial altercation between the British guard (private White) and the young colonist a crowd of angry colonist began to gather around the British guard. The crowd threw things at the guard and even challenged him to fire his weapon.
- Eventually a British officer and six privates came to Private White's aid. They loaded their weapons and positioned themselves in a defensive formation as the crowd grew to over 300 angry colonists.
- When Private Montgomery, a British soldier, was struck and hit by an object thrown by one of the colonists, he fired his weapon into the crowd. Several other British troops followed before the massacre came to an end and the crowd was dispersed.
- The only victim of the Boston Massacre to become well-known and even a hero of the American Revolution was a man by the name of Crispus Attucks. He was an African American sailor who is believed to have escaped from slavery.
- In addition to Crispus Attucks, the other victims of the Boston Massacre were Samuel Gray, Patrick Carr, Samuel Maverick, and James Caldwell.
Facts about the Aftermath of the Boston Massacre
- The five victims of the massacre were all buried in Boston as heroes at the Granary Burying Ground.
- Before it became known as the Boston Massacre, Paul Revere had named the tragic incident, The Bloody Massacre on King Street. It was also called the State Street Massacre before it became known as the Boston Massacre.
- When the British soldiers had trouble finding representation for their trial, John Adams agreed to work as their lawyer because he felt their rights to a fair trial should be upheld.
- Of the nine British men brought up on charges for their involvement in the Boston Massacre, seven were acquitted due to lack of evidence and two were convicted of manslaughter but released from prison.
- Every year on March 5th, The Boston Historical Society organizes a reenactment of the Boston Massacre at the same exact site as the original massacre.