Why Was The Boston Massacre Important

Describe and explain the importance of the Boston Massacre.

Expert Answers
Ashley Kannan eNotes educator| Certified Educator

The Boston Massacre was a confrontation between Colonists and British soldiers.  On March 5, 1770, a collection of Colonists from different narratives gathered around the Customs House in Boston.  There were words exchanged, reflective of the hostility between Colonists and the British.  The group of Colonists began to throw bottles and snowballs at the growing number of British soldiers.  In turn, the British soldiers opened fire on the Colonists.  While it was not really a "massacre" in terms of slaughter, the event highlighted the emerging schism between Colonists and the British.

The Boston Massacre was significant on a couple of levels. Right or wrong, it helped to fill an unenviable narrative for the British.  The news of the Boston Massacre which was spread throughout the Colonies by Sam Adams' Committees of Correspondence.  This depiction recounted the event as the slaughter of innocents by a heartless British garrison.  It helped to enhance the growing calls for separation, or at the very least, reexamination of the relationship between the British and the Colonists.  The disproportionate use of force also fed this narrative.  The Colonists had bottles and snowballs.  The British used ammunition and weaponry that was not a proportionate response to the situation.  Additionally, the Boston Massacre was significant because it helped to galvanize a certain section of Colonial society against the British. From this point on, the confrontation between both sides would be more antagonistic, and less likely to be solved through discourse and peaceable means.  The growing discontent with the various acts passed against the Colonists became even more rancorous as news of the Boston Massacre spread, helping to enhance its significance in the steps leading to the American Revolution.

michuraisin | Student

The Boston Massacre was an incident that occured on March 5, 1770 between colonists and British soldiers. At this time, tensions had developed between the colonists and England, and the former were beginning to take steps to further declare themselves against royal authority. On the day of the massacre, a crowd had gathered in front of a Boston customs house to harrass troops and were pelting guards with oyster shells. At some point, someone shouted either "fire" or "don't fire" leading to shots being fired by the soldiers and the Boston Massacre occuring. As a result, five civilians were left dead.

The importance of the Boston Massacre was that it further aggravated the relationship between the Crown and the colonies. The propaganda value of the massacre was undeniable as people were left dead. Paul Revere created a famous engraving of the fight that shows seven soldiers shooting at a crowd of colonists, with two people on the ground and bloody. This was a critical moment in turning the people of America against the Crown, leading to the Revolutionary War five years later.

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