Examining Whether or not the Boston Massacre was a True Massacre

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The Merriam-Webster online dictionary defines massacre as “the act or an instance of killing a number of usually helpless or unresisting human beings under circumstances of atrocity or cruelty” or “a cruel or wanton murder” (m-w.com). Essentially a massacre results in either the death of many people or death by cruel means. The Boston Massacre occurred on March 5, 1770, in Boston, Massachusetts and involved American colonists and British troops. The colonists, upset by recent laws enacted by the British, taunted a smaller group of British soldiers by throwing snowballs at them (Boston Massacre Historical Society). In response, the soldiers fired upon the unarmed colonists leaving five people dead and six wounded (Phelan, 131). Even …show more content…
The act also gave customs agents the authority to search property, including the colonists’ homes. The colonial response to these acts was increasing violence against the customs officials. In 1768, the British government sent troops to America to reinforce the Townshend Acts and protect the customs agents. At one point there were 4,000 British soldiers in a city of only 16,000 people (Phelan, 24). According to Phelan, there were “almost daily confrontations” between soldiers and civilians (38). There was increasing tension between the troops and the American colonists. Some children as well as adults tormented the troops by throwing snowballs and chunks of ice at the soldiers. There was also increasing tension between the colonists who were loyal to the Crown and those who were loyal to the colonies because some store owners broke their agreements about importing and selling British goods. Children threw trash and rocks at those storeowners’ buildings. Several days before the Boston Massacre, one of the loyalist merchants shot and killed a young man who was a part of group vandalizing his business (Phelan, 44-46). The colonists’ tempers flared. By March 5, 1770, only 600 British troops remained in the city (Zobel, 181). “On Monday, March 5, Boston seemed to be holding its breath” (Lukes, 32). The friction between

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