American Revolution has significantly changed the world today. It resulted in not only domestic but global benefits as well. However, it didn’t happen one night. It was shaped by patriotism, dynastic rivalries, social and economic changes, imperial politics, and personal loyalties. There were many events leading to American Revolution. One of them is the Boston Massacre. It is one of the most important events in American history as it’s the turning point of American independence. Knowing facts about the Boston Massacre will surely help draw a detailed picture of where we stand today.
What Caused Boston Massacre?
The Boston Massacre was a key moment leading to the American Revolution and it also sparked the desire for America independence. In the incident, many people both from British and American side were killed. In order to know why this incident could happen, you should know its historical background.
It’s a long story that started in the middle of 1700s where British parliament formed a secret society known as the Sons of Liberty. The goal was to fight against the implementation of the Stamp Act. Based on the Stamp Act, American colonists had to pay tax on printed materials.
In 1767 (two years after the act was passed by the British parliament, the American colonists got very mad because there was a passage in the Townsend Acts which was a series of laws concerning on new taxes set on glass, paper, paint, tea, and other British important goods. Furthermore, it was also aimed at increasing British revenue as the compensation of the war cost.
The Acts included in a number of acts such as the New York Restraining Act, Indemnity Act, and the Revenue Act. Because the colonists did not elect their own representatives in the parliament, they felt the parliament should not impose the taxes on them. Riots and mobs emerged along with the slogan “No to taxation without representation”. This motto became the chant taken up in battle.
To enforce their protest, colonist boycott British goods especially those affected by the Townshend Acts. The protest was led by Paul Revere, one of the founders of the Sons of Liberty. Because of the combatants’ action, in 1768 Governor Francis Bernard sent British troops to Boston in order to protect the colonial officials.
The British soldiers and Boston residents tried to reach an agreement. Therefore on March 4, 1770, these two parties had a meeting held in John Gray’s Ropewalk in Fort Hill district. It was one day right before the incident. However, in the meeting, Matthew Kilroy, the member of British troops, argued with Samuel Gray, one of the colonists.
From the brief explanation above, it can be summarized that Boston Massacre happened because of the implementation of Townshend Acts. The series of acts were set by British Parliaments as the effort to get back the great amount of treasure used in the defense of its North American colonies.
What Exactly Happened At King Street
The Boston Massacre happened one day after British soldiers and Boston residents had an encounter. It occurred at night on March 5, 1770 at Custom House located on King Street. An officer from the British Army, Captain Thomas Preston led his troop to meet the crowd of American civilians. On the spot, there were about 4,000 members of Redcoats (the name of the British troops) and more than 20,000 local residents of Boston.
During the incident on that night, five men died and six others got injured. It started when more than fifty Bostonians had been shouting and threatening the British soldiers. Not only did they threat the soldiers, they also threw some objects at the soldiers. The local residents did that because they really wanted the British army to leave the city as soon as possible.
In response to the threat, the soldiers fired their guns into the people and directly killed three of them. The other died later because they could not resist the wound. The five man died during the Boston Massacre were Samuel Gray, Samuel Maverick, Patrick Carr, James Caldwell, and Crispus Attucks. They died as patriots who risked his life for the colonists.
The incident on the King Street was called ‘massacre’ because many people were killed. The word ‘massacre’ itself is often used to describe a bloody and brutal incident that causes many deaths. The Boston Massacre is very famous because it was witnessed by so many people.
What Happened Aftermath
The Boston Massacre only happened in one night but what happened after that was also significant in American history. There was a mass funeral of the victims killed in the Boston Massacre. So, the following days, thousands of Bostonians attended the funeral. Meanwhile, Samuel Adams, the American politician, led an investigation on the incident. The committee conducted the investigation at the Faneuil Hall. At the same time, Governor Hutchinson also investigated the incident on the side of British army.
On November 27, 1970, some suspects were put on trial. They were Captain Preston, the one who led the British soldiers in the Boston Massacre and eight of his men. Samuel Quincy and Robert Treat Pained were the prosecutors of the trial. The eight soldiers were arrested but the captain was acquitted. However, the captain had to pay £200 for the chaos he caused before he was allowed to go back to England.
Five years after that, American continued to rebel again the injustice they experienced. They staged the Boston Tea Party as the form of their political protest. In addition, they also defended their militia arsenal against the British army and set the first Continental Congress. All of these events led to the American Revolution.
The facts about the Boston Massacre are probably too long to read especially if we are talking about the aftermath. However, it is important to know the history as it what makes up our nation. The city of Boston now has a Boston Massacre site market, near the place where the deadly incident happened 40 years ago.
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