Boston Massacre (Great Events from History: North American Series)
Article abstract: American fears of British standing armies result in a bloody confrontation and epitomize colonial unrest.
Summary of Event
On the night of March 5, 1770, a small crowd gathered around a soldier at the guard post in front of the Customs House at Boston, accusing him of striking a boy who had made disparaging remarks about a British officer. John Adams depicted the hecklers as “a motley rabble of saucy boys, negroes and mulattoes, Irish teagues and outlandish Jack tars.” The sentinel’s call for aid brought eight men from the Twenty-ninth Regiment and Captain Thomas Preston, officer of the day. The crowd increased, especially after someone rang the bell in the old Brick Meeting House; men and boys hurled snowballs and pieces of ice at the crimson-coated regulars and, with cries of “lobster,” “bloody-back,” and “coward,” taunted them to retaliate.
The crowd’s hostility stemmed from more than this particular incident; it rested on a series of occurrences between the Bostonians and the military during the seventeen months that the troops had been garrisoned in the city. If possible, the townspeople had expressed even more antipathy for the Customs Commissioners, who that very evening gazed uneasily from the windows of the Customs House on the scene before them in King Street. They were the real source of the trouble; their cries for protection had brought troops to Boston in...
(The entire section is 1282 words.)
Want to Read More?
Subscribe now to read the rest of this article. Plus get complete access to 30,000+ study guides!