rotating gif.gifFor more, see United States History I.4 and AP United States History 4

Event Summary

For a summary of the event, see The Boston Massacre from America' Story, Library of Congress

The Boston Massacre from the Massachusetts Historical Society.

See also 1770: Violence--Pause from America in Class, National Humanities Center

external image The_Bloody_Massacre.jpg
Paul Revere's engraving to the right is not an accurate depiction of the event (it did not occur in close quarters, nor with the British commander behind his troops) and is thought to be plagiarized from a drawing by artist Henry Pelham.There was one Black man, named Crispus Attucks, and 4 other laborers who died that day.

For more see Paul Revere's Engraving of the Boston Massacre, 1770


Rotating_globe-small.gifClick here for background on Crispus Attucks, a Black man who became the first casualty of the American Revolution.


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John Adams Defended the British Soldiers
John Adams Defended the British Soldiers

external image Scale_of_justice_gold.pngBoston Massacre Trial, 1770 from Famous American Trials, University of Missouri Kansas City

external image 200px-Paperback_book_black_gal.svg.pngReviewing the Boston Massacre, Historian Richard Archer (As If an Enemy's Country: The British Occupation of Boston and the Origins of Revolution, Oxford University Press, 2010) concludes "the evidence strongly suggests that the massacre was a legitimate murder case. The event was not premeditated, since none of the soldiers could have planned on being ordered to quell a crowd that evening. But it gave them an opportunity, and once that first shot had exploded, it is highly likely that at least some of the grenadiers aimed and fired at specific people in the crowd"
  • The lessons for modern times is clear, according to Archer, "an occupying force in a strange land, asked to police a suspicious and resentful population can themselves become enraged. Faced with enough indignities and violence, they too can become the agents of mayhem."
  • Source: "The Charge is Murder," Boston Sunday Globe, April 18, 2010, p. C3.

Painting by Alonzo Chappel, 1877
Painting by Alonzo Chappel, 1877

Multimedia.pngBoston Massacre from YouTube

Screen Shot 2016-10-28 at 12.13.15 PM.pngLesson Plans


Boston Massacre Lesson Plan from Colonial Williamsburg.

Boston Massacre: You Be the Judge! from George Mason University

Boston Massacre from Gilder Lehrman Institute of American History