A Massacre or a Riot? Essay examples

A Massacre or a Riot? Essay examples

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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 Massacre” is better defined as a riot than an actual massacre. The Soldiers were provoked to fire upon the crowd, and the actual scope of the provocation could be much greater than many of the Patriotic witnesses testified. Many contradictions exist in the evidence, and without proper proof one must assume the Soldiers and the Captain to be innocent until proven guilty.
In the days and weeks leading up to the Boston Massacre, much anger was brewing in the colony of Massachusetts. On the evening of March 5, 1770, a Sentry stationed to guard the Boston customs house was taunted continually by a small group of people surrounding him. He then struck one of his tormenters with his musket – a justified action to try to defend himself and ward off further potential unruliness. However, eager for a fight, this only brought a larger crowd. According to Peter Cunningham, he “Saw the Centinel standing on the steps of the Custom house, pushing his Bayonet at the People who were about 30 or 40.” A crowd of forty...


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...mewhat justified. The vast contradictions that exist show just how out of control the crowd was, and it is relatively clear that the soldiers were provoked and responded reasonably.
In conclusion, although the testimony presented at the trial is bias, it can be determined that the word riot is more appropriate for the events of the evening. Whatever the cause of the riots, the events of the Boston Massacre were absolutely pivotal as they helped to shape the United States of America. It is important to not underestimate the importance of a single evening, as even in such a short time span an entire colony can be turned upside down. Discerning the true events of the Boston Massacre is to prove a difficult task for our generation as it will for future generations. Only by being at the site of the massacre could one have accurately concluded the events of the evening.

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