The Boston Massacre is one of the most controversial events in American history that occurred in Boston before the American Revolution. Certainly, it has a fundamental role in the development of America as a nation, which led it to have a huge motivation for revolution. A heavy British military presence and having very high taxes in the country were some of the main reasons that made Boston citizens very irritated. Thus, there were already many disagreements and tensions between inhabitants and the British that could have led to the Massacre. In this essay, I will carefully analyze three primary sources, and compare these to the interpretation given by HBO’s John Adams. In my view, these sources can be divided into two groups in which the article of Boston Gazette and the picture of Paul Revere, “The Bloody Massacre” can stand together against the other two sources, the letter of Captain Thomas Preston and John Adams HBO miniseries. However, the most valuable and credible sources for me were the HBO miniseries John Adams (2008) and the letter of Captain Thomas Preston, which in my opinion, are very logical and describe the natural outcome of all the disagreements and tensions between Boston citizens and British soldiers.
On March 5, 1770 an incident occurred on Kings Street between British soldiers and Boston working class, which was later known as The Boston Massacre. One of the main characters of the incident was the British Captain Thomas Preston, whose actions in the event were highly controversial. As a result of the incident, five Bostonians were killed by British soldiers and six were wounded. Thomas Preston and eight soldiers were put on trial. The captain and his six soldiers were found not guilty, but two soldiers were found guilty of manslaughter and were set free anyways.
The article in the Boston Gazette, named “A most Shocking Scene” depicts a Patriot point of view about the Boston Massacre. This article was a very influential critique of The Boston Massacre, reprints of which appeared in other colonial newspapers and even across the Atlantic. The paper was written by business partners Benjamin Edes and John Hill, who printed pamphlets and sold books as well. The position taken by the Boston Gazette to the event greatly shaped public opinion in the town and other colonies. The article of Boston Gazette starts with depicting the general attitude of British soldiers to Boston citizens. It claims that soldiers were not ordered to this town for security purposes but to quell a spirit of liberty. The article also states that soldiers were harassing civilians and were aiming to provoke them by their insulting conducts that actually could have led the way to the Boston Massacre. Later, the article begins to portray the actual event on the evening of March 5th. According to the Boston Gazette, it all started with several soldiers of the 29th Regiment who while parading the streets, abused and wounded numbers of Boston citizens. Then, two youths, named Edward Archbald and William Merchant who were passing a narrow alley came across with a British soldier who struck Archbald on the arm with his sword. Afterwards, Archbald’s friend Merchant struck that soldier with his short stick. This accident brought many other citizens together, but outnumbered by British soldiers, they dispersed. Later in the evening, about thirty or forty lads got together in Kings Street and started protesting against British soldiers, who were insulting and attacking single and unarmed persons till they raised riot. The Boston Gazette article claims that Captain Thomas Preston commanded his soldiers to fire when he saw snow balls coming at them. “Damn you, Fire, let the consequence be what it will!” said Captain Preston to his soldiers according to the Boston Gazette (A Most Shocking Scene, 91). At the end, the article lists the names of people who were killed and wounded, which in my view, is one of...
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