The Boston Massacre was a tragic event in American history that helped lead America to become an independent country. The Boston Massacre was a fight that broke out in 1770 in Boston, Massachusetts, that ended with British soldiers killing five American colonists. While the actual cause of the Boston Massacre is still debated even today, one of the likely causes was the crowd antagonizing the soldiers. The killing of the colonists resulted in one of the most famous trials in history. Like the people in Boston who were protesting British taxation, people today still protest. However, protests should be done peacefully, not violently.
During the trial, evidence was presented and people testified for both sides. Some of the most convincing pieces of evidence were the testimonies that the British soldiers fired in self-defense, and that they thought that their captain said the word “Fire”. Defending lawyer John Adams argued that the soldiers had the right to protect themselves and that they fired because they felt threatened. Even though they were charged with murder, Adams said that the most they should be charged with manslaughter. In the end, two soldiers were indeed convicted of manslaughter, and the others, including Captain Preston, were acquitted, all dropping out of the military.
The causes of the massacre were complicated. Even before the massacre, many people of the colonies hated the British because they felt they were taxed too much and some even wanted independence. The day before the massacre, British soldiers walked up to John Gray’s Ropewalk looking for jobs, but when they were given the job of cleaning, they were offended. They got into a fight with John Gray and his men, who defeated them. The next day, the British soldiers came back with more men and were overpowered again. This provoked the civilians because they thought the soldiers were too aggressive, and it also provoked the soldiers. The massacre occurred because the civilians thought that the soldiers would kill them because of the events at the Ropewalk, but it was also the result of years of frustration of over taxation.
Mobs and violent actions are never justified to protest laws even if those laws are passed legally. Protesting peacefully will accomplish more without resorting to violence. Some protests are understandable if a law discriminates against people of a certain gender, religion, or sexual orientation. People protest to increase the visibility of a certain cause they believe in. For example, Martin Luther King and Mahatma Gandhi used their words instead of using violence to be heard. Protests can also make people energized and excited. This allows people with the same beliefs to protest together and feel that they are part of a bigger community. The right to peacefully protest is a fundamental right in our democracy and provides a way to voice beliefs on a large scale.
Although people still debate many of the events related to the Boston Massacre, there is no question that the events show the major disagreements between the Colonists and the British. The tensions between the two sides resulted in the death of 5 colonists, the rise of John Adams, and the Colonists desire for independence.