The Boston Massacre is a possibly hyperbolic name for the events that occurred on March 5th, 1770. There had been a group of patriot protestors heckling a sentry who was guarding the Customs House in Boston. The reason of the protest was because of the taxation that was still being imposed on the patriots. The colonists had grown frustrated with the British soldiers who were there to enforce the taxation, so riots began around the city. On this particular cold March night, the riot had snowballed to a point that the guard was uncertain that he could contain it. British soldiers came to the sentries’ aid to try and calm the situation. When the protest simply escalated further, the soldiers unleashed shots into the crowd, killing three people on the spot and having two more die from their wounds at a later time (along with three more who were injured).
The protests began after the Stamp Act of 1765 and the Townshend Acts of 1767, which were acts forcing the taxation of American by the British Parliament. After the protests started to escalate in the years that followed, 2,000 British soldiers were sent to Boston to keep the peace. This had the reverse effect on the Patriots, now not only were they still being forced to pay taxes to the motherland, but the burden of finding accommodation for the soldiers, who made up over 10% of the total population, fell on the local people as well.
By the time 1770 came around, tensions were at an all-time high, and the simple act of thrown snowballs at a protest was all it took for British captain Thomas Preston to start unleashing shots into the crowd at Customs House. Swiftly after the first shots were fired, the other soldiers followed suit, and when the dust settled, Crispus Attucks, Samuel Gray, Samuel Maverick, Patrick Carr and James Caldwell would all die, becoming what many think to be the first casualties of the American Revolutionary War.
The soldiers were put on trial, and were defended by John Adams and Josiah Quincy, whom wanted to properly represent the colonial’s justice system. The Trial ended in December of 1770, with two of the soldiers being convicted of manslaughter and having an “M” branded on their thumbs representing murder. The Boston Massacre would become a symbol for the Patriot Revolt and reason for why the troops needed to be removed. Paul Revere headed the continuance of the event as a symbolic nature by creating provocative images and spreading them throughout the colonies.
Although this was a minor event on the whole based on casualty numbers or significant figures involved, the Boston Massacre has been retold time and time again because of the impact it had. That night was the burst of tension in the colonists’ major city. It was time for independence and this event lead to more support for the patriots in their claims that it was time for the British to leave America. Although the Revolutionary war didn’t take place for another five years, the massacre got the ball rolling in the eyes of the people who now realized that the revolution was upon them.