February 28, 2020

Boston Massacre

Boston Massacre - Customs House on King Street in Boston

Boston Massacre - Customs House on King Street in Boston

The Boston Massacre is part 4 of my American Revolution refresher, and the meaning behind the Fourth of July. Today I’ll talk about what happened at the Boston Massacre, and its implication on driving the colonists towards independence.

The citizens of Boston resented having British troops stationed in their town to enforce the British Tax Acts. On evening of March 5, a group of young men began taunting a British sentry outside the Custom House. They began throwing snowballs at the sentry. The situation got out of control, and one soldier was knocked to the ground with a club. Someone shouted “fire” and this led to soldiers firing their muskets into the crowd. Five civilians were shot and killed in the brawl.

The governor ordered the Captain Preston and eight soldiers be put in prison. The lawyer John Adams defended the soldiers and convinced the jury that the soldiers fired in self defense. Captain Preston and six soldiers were set free. Two soldiers were found guilty of manslaughter, branded as convicts, then released. This further fueled the colonists push for independence.

To learn more about the Boston Massacre, see the Kidport Boston Massacre reference materials and the Boston Massacre video collection.

In the next session I’ll talk about the Boston Tea Party.

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