The Boston Massacre
There were many important events which took place before the start of the American Revolution, a war between the colonists of America and the British for America's independence, also called the Revolutionary War. One of those events was called the Boston Massacre, which took place on March 5, 1770. On this day, British soldiers fired on a group of colonists and killed five of them.
Before the tragic day, the British were introducing several new taxes the colonists were required to pay on a variety of products including tea, glass, paper, paint, and lead. The colonists were outraged because they were being taxed without representation in the British government, meaning they had no say in how the British would rule the country.
The taxes were part of laws called the Townshend Acts, a group of unfair and unjust laws against the colonists. Previously, the colonists protested the Stamp Act, which was another unfair tax. They felt they had to once to stage a protest and this led to the Boston Massacre.
It was the evening of March 5 and an argument about the taxes began between a British soldier, Private Hugh White, and the colonists. As with many arguments, it began to escalate and became worse. Other colonists began to join in and threw rocks, sticks, and snow balls at the British soldier, as well as harassed the private causing a near-riot. In all, there were about 50 colonists making up the small crowd of people.
Because of the melee, Captain Thomas Preston, a local British soldier ordered some British soldiers to the location to maintain order. The crowd, though, became angrier and rowdier as the arriving soldiers were carrying bayonets. The colonists began to shout at the British soldiers and dared them to fire.
As Preston tried to get the crowd under order and asking them to leave, someone from the crowd threw an object and it hit one of the soldiers. The soldier fell, and in doing so, he fired into the crowd. There was a sudden moment of silence. The crowd was stunned, and then several other soldiers fired into the crowd as well. Three colonists were killed instantly and two others died later.
Following the incident, the acting governor of Massachusetts, Thomas Hutchinson, dispersed the crowd and in all, thirteen people were arrested including eight British soldiers and an officer. They were charged with murder and jailed, and the British troops were sent out of the city.
A trial for the eight soldiers began on November 27, 1770, and a future president John Adams, reluctantly represented the soldiers as their lawyer. He wanted them to have a fair trial. He also believed the soldiers had a right to defend themselves. He told the jury they were fearing for their lives, and in the end, six of the soldiers were found not guilty and two of them were convicted of manslaughter. During the trial for the civilians, they were found not guilty.
The Boston Massacre became motivation for the patriotism of the American colonists for their independence and freedom from Britain. The rule of the British was not accepted and the Americans thought the British were unfair. Different groups, like the Sons of Liberty, used the incident as a rallying cry to show the problems with British rule over early America.
Five years later, the American Revolutionary War began in 1775, and did not end until September 3, 1783 when the United States of America obtained their independence from Great Britain. The country was formally recognized as America and as an independent country in the Treaty of Paris.
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