A Massacre or a Riot? Essay

1536 Words 7 Pages
Was the Boston Massacre really a massacre? In history, there are many events where the exact occurrences are not clear. The Boston Massacre, which took place on the evening of March 5, 1770, was absolutely no exception. Evidence is spotty, details can be lacking, and testimonies are often told from a personal and bias perspective. Determining the bias of each testimony is key to learning the motivations behind each witness, which in turn is key in deciphering the actual events of the Boston Massacre. One is right to wonder, through all of the conflicting testimonies, whether the Boston Massacre really was a massacre. The Boston Massacre is viewed with overwhelming bias and many contradictions in accounts exist, yet overall the “Boston …show more content…
The town’s church bells then rang; a sound that usually signifies a fire. This brought many of the people living in the town out of their homes. While many of those there were simply curious to observe what promised to be a good skirmish, there was a large contingent looking for a fight. Captain Preston then led out seven soldiers to try to defend the lone man standing. While this drew a reaction from the crowd, reinforcements were very much needed at this point. Various people from the crowd approach Preston amid the rioting, asking if the guns are loaded and if he has any intention to order his men to fire. Preston replied that indeed his men’s muskets are loaded but that he has no intention to order them to fire. While it may be argued that Captain Preston bid his men prime and load with the intention to fire, it would seem that having soldiers load their guns would be a reasonable precautionary step. As the crowd escalated, snow and ice were hurled at the soldiers, and even once a stick or club. Theodore Bliss recalls seeing, “a Stick about 3 feet long strike a Soldier upon the right.” The crowd, as Captain Preston remembers, was calling out, “fire if you dare” and other such encouragements. What happened next was and still is a matter of considerable controversy. What is known, however, is that the soldiers started to fire upon the crowd. Five men were killed, and six were wounded. While these deaths are pointed to in order to justify calling the event
Open Document