The Boston Massacre and the American Revolution

242 years ago today, hostilities between British soldiers and American colonists escalated after five men were killed in the notorious Boston Massacre.

via Library of Congress


British Captain Thomas Preston, the commanding officer at the Customs House, ordered his men to fix their bayonets and join the guard outside the building. The colonists responded by throwing snowballs and other objects at the British regulars, and Private Hugh Montgomery was hit, leading him to discharge his rifle at the crowd. The other soldiers began firing a moment later, and when the smoke cleared, five colonists were dead or dying—Crispus Attucks, Patrick Carr, Samuel Gray, Samuel Maverick, and James Caldwell—and three more were injured. Although it is unclear whether Crispus Attucks, an African American, was the first to fall as is commonly believed, the deaths of the five men are regarded by some historians as the first fatalities in the American Revolutionary War.

The tension between Britain and the American colonies had been intensifying over the years due to unfair taxes and regulations such as the Sugar Act, the Currency Act, and the Stamp Act. Word of this Massacre spread throughout the colonies and increased the hostilities between King George III and the colonists. The engraving by Paul Revere (pictured above) added to the fury against the British throne pushing the colonist one step closer to revolution.

Around the Boston area on March 10th?Each year for the anniversary of the Massacre, the Bostonian Society reenacts the massacre in front of the Old State house. To participate in the reenactment or to learn more information about the event, visit here.

For more information about the Revolutionary War, we suggest the following titles:

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