How did the colonists react to the Boston Massacre?
The Boston Massacre is one of the earliest examples of government propaganda in the United States. The event in March of 1770 was a minor skirmish between British soldiers and a group of protesters in Boston. It probably was not considered minor to the five colonists that lost their lives, but it is still hard to judge the event as a 'massacre'. The Patriots, with their agenda for more political control and even perhaps independence from England, saw an opportunity in the events of that evening. The Boston Massacre could be used as a rallying cry against the British.
Colonial leadership had a difficult balance to maintain, however. They did not want to arouse the energy of the wrong type of colonists: the lower classes. They feared this group almost as much as the imperial rulers. In order to target the middle to upper-class group, the Patriots focused on utilizing the Boston Massacre through a series of pamphlets and news articles. In this way, the Boston Massacre could reach a broad literate audience.
It is probable that the American drive for independence from England would have proceeded even in the absence of the Boston Massacre. The immediate aftermath of the event did cause Britain to momentarily pause and moderate its actions (as an example, British soldiers were removed from Boston). The event was not profound enough to cause Britain to completely re-evaluate its goals for its colonial empire. For this reason, the Boston Massacre was an important propaganda tool, but not an event that truly changed the course of history.
The Boston Massacre was an important event in the relationship between Great Britain and the colonists. For the first time, a protest led to the death of colonists. For some, this changed the dynamic of our struggle against Great Britain.
After the Boston Massacre, the colonists reestablished the committees of correspondence. These committees served the purpose of letting others throughout the colonies know about important events that were happening. The colonists were also more watchful over the British and their activities. The colonists also decided to use this event to try to gain support from the people. In reality, the killing of five people was not a massacre. However, by calling this event the Boston Massacre, the colonists were able to portray the British in a negative light. It helped bring more sympathy and support to the colonial cause. The colonists used this event to their advantage.
The British had a response to the Boston Tea Party also. The British were aware this event could have devolved into something more serious. Thus, the British ended all Townshend Act taxes except for the tax on tea. The repeal of most of the Townshend Act taxes helped to keep things from escalating in the colonies at this time.