Boston Massacre Site


Propaganda print from the engraving
by Paul Revere, 1770




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Five colonials were randomly killed by British Redcoats when they were threatened by a a crowd of taunting Bostonians, including Crispus Attucks, an escaped mulatto slave. Following the incident, Samuel Adams put his propaganda machine into operation and called it a massacre. Paul Revere popularized it with his engraving. John Adams, counter-intuitively and to ensure a fair trial, defended the eight British soldiers. Six of them were acquitted.

A simple ring of stones marks the site of the Boston Massacre (5-Mar-1770) and reenactments take place on the anniversary every year.

Part of the Freedom Trail™.

Associated People

It is difficult to recapture the intensity of excitement felt by Americans in 1776 over the prospect of forming new republican governments. It is a work, said Thomas Jefferson, of the most interesting nature and such as every individual would wish to have his voice in. Even the business of the Continental Congress was stifled because so many delegates — including Jefferson — left for home to take part in the paramount activity of erecting the new state governments. Constitutions, remarked Francis Lightfoot Lee, employ every pen. ... Nothing — not the creation of [the] confederacy, not the Continental Congress, not the war, not the French alliance — in the years surrounding the Declaration of Independence engaged the interests of Americans more that the framing of these governments.

Gordon S. Wood
The Creation of the American Republic, 1776—1787 (1969)