Boston Massacre

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The Boston Massacre, also known as the Boston riot, was an incident that led to the deaths of five civilians at the hands of British redcoats on March 5, 1770, the legal aftermath of which helped spark the rebellion in some of the British American colonies, which culminated in the American Revolutionary War. A heavy British military presence in Boston led to a tense situation that boiled over into incitement of brawls between soldiers and civilians and eventually led to troops discharging their muskets after being threatened by a rioting crowd. Three civilians were killed at the scene of the shooting, eleven were injured, and two died after the incident. [2][3]

Contents

Background

British army troops were sent to Boston in 1768 to help officials enforce the Townshend Acts, a series of laws passed by the British Parliament. The purpose of the Townshend program was to make colonial governors and judges independent of colonial control, to create a more effective means of enforcing compliance with trade regulations, and to establish the controversial precedent that Parliament had the right to tax the colonies.[4]

Colonists objected that the Townshend Acts were a violation of the natural, charter, and constitutional rights of British subjects in the colonies. Boston was a center of the resistance. The Massachusetts House of Representatives began a campaign against the Townshend Acts by sending a petition to King George asking for the repeal of the Townshend Revenue Act. The House then sent what became known as the Massachusetts Circular Letter to the other colonial assemblies, asking them to join the resistance movement.[5]

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