The Bloody Massacre, also known as the Boston Massacre, is an event in US history that occurred in 1770, during the time when Britain continuously passed legislative acts that placed increased taxes on goods sent to the colonies, forced sailors into the Royal Navy, and forced colonists to provide quarter for British troops. As the number of British troops in Boston increase, colonial tensions rose to the point that young men of Boston started a conflicted with a lone British soldier. After being bombarded with snowballs and increasingly surrounded, the troop called for aid. Soon after more British troops arrived to aid their fellow soldier, more than snowballs began to fly. In the clamor, guns began to fire. Four colonists were killed, and a number of other colonists were injured in the confrontation. The colonists grew furious at the murder of their unarmed comrades. The soldiers were tried in court and most were acquitted. The colonists were outraged. Having noticed the amount of tension that had been created from this incident, the Sons of Liberty, along with Samuel Adams, took the opportunity to increase anti-British sentiment. The bodies of the murdered were paraded through the streets of Boston and word spread that British soldiers had killed unarmed civilians. Other political propaganda helped circulate the news and spread the idea that Britain was a tyrannical force, ensuring that it even reached the frontier regions.
Among the political propaganda was an etching of the Boston Massacre. This etching was created by Paul Revere, who had originally created the work in a sketched form that was more accurate in noting the position of some of the colonists and soldiers who were involved in the incident. He based the etching version off of one of Henry Pelham’s engravings. The etching depicted an organized British force firing into an unarmed crowd of civilians, obviously causing death and injury. It was widely circulated approximately three weeks after the Massacre. The circulation of this propaganda caused anti-British sentiment to rise to the point that independence was viewed as the colonist’s salvation from British tyranny.
The purpose of the image was to stir and heighten anti-British sentiment. It was used to convey Britain’s lack of sentiment and care for the colonists. It was created in bias to portray the Britain as the sole perpetrators of the massacre. The etching showed that Britain had no qualms about colonists being murdered by British soldiers and that Britain was unwilling to persecute British soldiers for such violent acts against the colonists. The notable assumption that can be made from the image is that Britain was an overpowering force that cared little, if at all, about the death of any in opposition, especially opposition from within its own populace.
The image’s historical context pertains to the build-up of anti-British sentiment that ignited the American colonies’ fight for independence from the Crown. During the time that it was circulated and viewed, political propaganda was begin used to an extreme extent in order to progress the colonies towards independence.
In terms of personal and social responsibilities, the Boston Massacre shows that the actions of a single person or a small group can lead to very weighty change in the world as we know it. During the time period, the Bloody Massacre was a type of catalyst that pushed the colonies towards independence. Had this catalyst not occurred, we would not be living in the world that we do. The United States of America most likely would not exist and our way of life would be completely different. Ethically speaking, parading the deceased through the city streets for political purposes is not acceptable in any way or for any reason. The dead should be celebrated and honored for their accomplishments and the life they had. Additionally, firing a weapon at an unarmed person is cold-blooded murder. There are better ways to deal with aggressive and tense situations. For instance, incapacitating a threatening and aggressive person, who is unarmed, would keep said person from causing anymore harm and it would also give that person time to calm down. Incapacitation can be enacted with little effort and would not kill the person, who could later on be a useful part of society. Those who were killed in the massacre could have made incredible discoveries or advances in their fields of interest had they not been killed, but we will never know. Ending a life does not only affect society. Death affects everyone and taking a life should not be taken lightly, not even in the slightest. Taking someone’s life means taking the life of someone’s son, daughter, husband, wife, friend, lover. It means taking away someone who meant the world to someone else. In the time of the Boston Massacre, it also meant most likely taking away the ability for a child or wife to survive.