Boston Massacre

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The town of Boston was a very unstable throughout the 1760’s. This instability quickly turned to violence in the early part of 1770’s. Tension had already begun to in the beginning of the year with various clashes between the British and the colonists. However, in early March the tensions erupted into bloodshed to create what we now know as the Boston Massacre. The occurrence of these events is a fact, however, the interpretations of them has changed over time. The reports are colored by events that are taking place during the period of time in which they were written and by the author’s own prejudices and opinions. However, we can use these imperfections as a way of tracking what is occurring in America and the state of politics. In a piece dated 1823, (John Prentiss, History of the United States of America) it is understood as though the author is blaming the citizens for taunting the British soldiers into a position that forced them into firing. Given the current year, there were many citizens who still felt a loyalty towards Britain and were annoyed with their neighbors. This was considered acceptable behavior being that Americans needed the support of the British in order to enforce the Monroe Doctrine. Britain possessed the guns and naval power while America did not. Advancing further into history, accounts in 1855 (A.B. Berard, School History of the United States) and 1856 (Harper’s School History, Narrative of the General Course of History) also offer different portrayals of the same events despite their close proximity to one another. The 1855 account has a different interpretation of how the event gained excitement and it goes on to say that it was a “negro who had excited the disturbance.” The reference to “negro” was... ... middle of paper ... ... that the events of the Boston Massacre were better referred to as marketing than actual events in their A History of the United States piece. These were the early days of the Internet and one of the best times for the use of PR in American politics. This article seems to be influenced by the use of media to form opinions, whether they are accurate or not. As mentioned before, the interpretation of an event changes over time as the state of the country changes. While this can cause problems in researching events and trying to learn the facts, you can develop a better understanding for what emotions the people of that time period were experiencing. For the desired outcome of all research to be accurate, an equal balance of national stability and close proximity to the event being researched are the ideal factors to take into account when choosing research material.

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