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Boston Massacre- 1770
Five colonists were killed by British Troops in Boston on March 5th 1770. The event was
precipitated by taunts against British soldiers in Boston. The British responded with force
and fired their muskets at the Americans, killing 3 instantly and wounding 11. Two of the
wounded soon died. The death of the colonists, in what became known as the Boston
Massacre, inflamed American opinion against the British and was one of the most
significant events leading up to the Revolution.
From the moment the British decided to send troops to Boston it was only a matter of time before
British troops were likely to clash with the colonists. That day came on March 5th 1770. In that
early evening a British sentry was guarding the custom house on King Street, (what is today
"State Street" in downtown Boston.) Colonists began to taunt the sentry. Soon a crowd grew.
With the crowd growing, the Officer of the Day, Captain Thomas Preston, ordered seven or eight
soldiers under his command to support the sentry. Preston soon followed. By the time the
additional troops arrived the crowd had grown to between 300 and 400 hundred men. The evergrowing crowd continued to taunt the British soldiers whose muskets were loaded. The crowd
then began pelting the sentries with snowballs.
A colonist knocked one of the soldiers down. As the soldier got up, he fired his musket, and then
yelled "Damm you, fire". There was a pause and then the British soldiers fired on the colonists.
Three Americans-- rope maker Samuel Gray, mariner James Caldwell, and an African American
sailor named Crispus Attucks died instantly. Samuel Maverick, struck by a ricocheting musket ball
at the back of the crowd, died a few hours later in the early morning of the next day. Thirty-yearold Irish immigrant Patrick Carr died two weeks later.
This event quickly became known as "the Boston Massacre". Thanks to the efforts of Boston
engraver, Paul Revere, who copied a drawing made by Henry Pelham, the illustration of the
above events soon made its way throughout the colonies. The illustration stirred the anger of
Americans towards the British. Captain Preston and four of his men were arrested and charged
with manslaughter.
The soldiers were tried in open court, with John Adams acting as one of the Defense Attorneys.
Preston was found "not guilty", as it became clear it was unlikely that he gave the order to fire.
The other soldiers were found guilty of manslaughter and punished by having their thumbs
From: http://www.historycentral.com/revolt/Massacre.html
Stamp Act
In order to help cover the cost of the war between Great Britain and France, British
officials began to establish new taxes in the Colonies. In 1765 a tax was passed by
Great Britain known as the stamp act. This law required all colonists to pay a tax to
Great Britain on all of the printed materials that they used, newspapers, magazines,
and even playing cards. All of these materials were required to have a stamp placed
on them, in order to show that the tax had been paid.
Colonist were outraged, and responded by boycotting all British goods. They also
attacked officials who were sent by Great Britain to enforce the stamp act, and
burned the stamps in the street. Many of the colonies sent representatives to a
special meeting in New York, which they called The Stamp Act Congress, where the
colonies voted and declared that Parliament did not have the right to pass taxes on
the colonies because they did not have any representation in parliament. Many of the
colonists began crying ‘No taxation without representation.
As a result, the British Parliament repealed the stamp act just one year later in 1766.
From: http://www.kidspast.com/world-history/0359-the-stamp-act.php
Quartering Act
In 1765, Parliament passed a quartering act that stated that British troops in America would
be housed in barracks and in public houses unless and until the number of troops
overwhelmed the facilities, at which time, the troops could be housed in private commercial
property, such as inns and stables, and in uninhabited homes and barns. The quartering would
be without compensation and, in fact, owners would be required to provide soldiers with
certain necessities such as food, liquor, salt, and
bedding, also without compensation. As tensions rose in late 1773 and early 1774, the old
quartering act was supplemented with the Quartering Act of 1774. This act, passed on June 2,
1774, required colonists to house troops not only as previously required, but also in private
From: http://www.revolutionary-war-and-beyond.com/quartering-act-june-2-1774.html
Boston Tea Party
Events Leading to the Tea Party
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The British East India Company had controlled all tea trading between India and the British
colonies. As a result of the tea tax, the colonies refused to buy the British tea. Instead, they
smuggled tea in from Holland. This left the British East India Company with warehouses full of
unsold tea, and the company was in danger of going out of business.
The British government was determined to prevent the British East India Company from going
out of business. It was going to force the colonists to buy their tea. In May 1773, Prime Minister
North and the British parliament passed the Tea Act. The Tea Act allowed the British East India
Company to sell tea directly to the colonists, bypassing the colonial wholesale merchants. This
allowed the company to sell their tea cheaper than the colonial merchants who were selling
smuggled tea from Holland.
This act revived the colonial issue of taxation without representation. The colonies once again
demanded that the British government remove the tax on tea. In addition, the dockworkers began
refusing to unload the tea from ships.
The Governor of Massachusetts demanded that the tea be unloaded. He also demanded that the
people pay the taxes and duty on tea.
The "Boston Tea Party"
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The Boston Tea Party
(Source: Library of Congress)
On the evening of December 16, 1773, a group of men calling themselves the "Sons
of Liberty" went to the Boston Harbor. The men were dressed as Mohawk Indians.
They boarded three British ships, the Beaver, the Eleanor and the Dartmouth, and
dumped forty-five tons of tea into the Boston Harbor.
From: http://www.kidport.com/reflib/usahistory/americanrevolution/teaparty.htm
Lexington and Concord
The first shots starting the revolution were fired at Lexington, Massachusetts. On April 18, 1775, British Gen
Gage sent 700 soldiers to destroy guns and ammunition the colonists had stored in the town of Concord, just
Boston. They also planned to arrest Samuel Adams and John Hancock, two of the key leaders of the patriot m
The Battle of Lexington and Concord
Church Steeple where Paul Revere hung lanterns
warning colonists the British were coming
(Source: Library of Congress)
Dr. Joseph Warren learned of the British plans and sent Paul Revere to alert John Hancock and Samuel Adam
Revere promised to warn them when the British soldiers started to march. Since he wasn't sure that he would
out of Boston with the message, he made plans to alert people by putting lanterns in the Old North Church st
would light one lantern if the British were coming by land, and two lanterns if the British were coming by se
On the evening of April 18th, the British troops were ferried across the Boston Harbor to start their march on
Paul Revere hung two lanterns in the church steeple. Then Paul Revere, William Dawes and Dr. Samuel Pres
warn the colonists that the British were coming.
Paul Revere rode to Lexington and alerted Samual Adams and John Hancock. By the time the British soldier
Lexington, Samual Adams and John Hancock had escaped.
Minute Man Memorial, Concord, Massachusetts
(Source: Library of Congress)
The colonists had been expecting a fight with the British. They had organized a group of militia, called the M
They were called Minutemen because they needed to be prepared to fight on a minutes notice.
When the British soldiers reached Lexington, Captain Jonas Parker and 75 armed Minutemen were there to m
The Minutemen were greatly outnumbered. The British soldiers fired, killing 8 Minutemen and injuring 10 o
Although Paul Revere was captured by British scouts before reaching Concord, other messengers managed t
and warn the people. While the British soldiers continued on their way to Concord, the men and women of C
busy moving the arms and ammunition to new hiding places in surrounding towns. When the soldiers arrived
only able to destroy part of the supplies.
The British Retreat to Boston
Battle of Lexington and Concord
(Source: Library of Congress)
Minutemen from nearby towns were now responding to the messengers' warnings. The smoke from the burn
was also attracting local farmers and townspeople. A large force of patriots was now gathered in response to
As the British soldiers headed back to Boston, they were attacked by the Minutemen. All along the route, Mi
local farmers and townspeople continued the attack against the British. By the time the soldiers reached Bost
solders were dead and 174 more were wounded.
In the days fighting, 49 patriots were killed, and 39 more were wounded.