The Boston Massacre was a street fight which took place on March 5, 1770. It was also known as the Incident on King Street by the British, an incident in which the British Army soldiers killed five male civilians, injuring six others. This incident was heavily publicized by leading Patriots like Paul Revere and Samuel Adams to add more animosity towards the British authorities.
The British troops were stationed at Boston, the capital of the Province of Massachusetts Bay from 1768 to protect and support crown appointed colonial officials trying to enforce unpopular Parliamentary legislation.
In the midst of the tense relation between the population and the soldiers, a crowd was formed around the British sentry who was exposed to verbal abuse and harassment. Eventually, he was supported by eight additional soldiers who were subjected to verbal threats and objects thrown at them.
They in turned, fired at the crowd without receiving orders, thereby killing three people and wounding several others. Later two more people succumbed to death due to the wounds received in the incident. Many colonists were killed in the incident which led to a campaign by speech-writers to arouse the public.
British Troop Not Welcomed
The British troop’s presence was not welcomed in the city of Boston and the riot took place when around 50 citizens had attacked a British sentinel.A town meeting was organised demanding the removal of the British and the trial of Captain Preston and his men for murder where at the trial, John Adams and Josiah Quincy II defended the British which led to their release.
Robert Treat Paine and Samuel Quincy were the attorneys for the prosecution. Two of the British soldiers were later found guilty of manslaughter. The Boston Massacre was an indication leading to the Revolutionary War which led directly to the Royal Governor vacating the army occupying the town of Boston. It would soon bring about the revolution to armed rebellion all over the colonies. From its name itself, this event of the American Revolution seemed to be the cause for popular myths and misconceptions.
Spark Ignited Revolutionary War
The Boston Massacre was not so called till many years after it had occurred. It was also called the State Street Massacre in the early 1800s. This histrionic shooting is described as the spark which ignited the Revolutionary War, in several history books and probably one of the reasons being the loss of human lives. In fact there were many other historic indicators though less dramatic that had moved Boston to revolt, some of which worth mentioning are Townshend Acts, Stamp Act and Boston Tea Party.
An interesting myth is that the brawl on King’s street originated from the accusations thrown at one of the British officers that he had not paid the wigmaker’s bill which makes an interesting story. Some could be speculating perhaps that the famous protest would not have taken place, had the bill been paid on time. On the contrary, the British officer Captain John Goldfinch had already settled the bid one day earlier.