When you think of the American Revolution, one of the first things you usually think of is the Boston Massacre. A massacre is the killing of a large number of people that are usually helpless or unresisting under the circumstances of atrocity or cruelty. In this essay, we are going to explore the questions what were the events leading up to the Boston Massacre, why the Boston Massacre took place, if this was truly even a massacre, and what was the aftermath of the massacre?
Before we get into what happened on the night of March 5, 1770, we should talk about what lead up to that night. By 1770 tensions were already very high between the British and the colonists in Boston. British were trying to enforce the tax laws and the colonists were rebelling against the ones that they felt were unfair. Brawls between the colonists and the British soldiers were becoming more common. Colonists were often using vandalism as a form of protest, vandalizing the stores that sold British goods and threatening the people worked for or bought things from the store.
On February 22, there was a situation involving a mob of colonists attacking a known loyalist’s store. A loyalist customs officer by the name of Ebenezer Richardson just so happened to live near the store and attempted to break up the crowd of people who were throwing rocks. He tried to do this by firing a gun through the window of his house, he accidentally killed an 11 year old boy by the name of Christopher Seider. This incident made the colonists even more angry. A couple of days later, there was a skirmish between some colonist and some British soldiers. It didn’t cause any significant bloodshed, but it helped set the stage for what was yet to come.
On the night of March 5, 1770 Boston was about to change, British Private Hugh White was the only soldier guarding King George III’s money and the colonist saw this as the perfect time to take advantage and insult and threaten him. Eventually White decided he had enough of the this and struck a colonist with his bayonet. This angered the colonists so they started throwing snowballs, ice, and stones at him. Soon bells started ringing through town, which is usually a warning of fire, sending a ton of male colonists into the streets. Eventually the assault on White became too much for him to handle on his own so he called for back up. Due to the amount of destress White seemed to be in, Captain Thomas Preston came to his defense with several soldiers and stood in front of the Custom House.