Boston Massacre

Boston Massacre, 1770, pre-Revolutionary incident growing out of the resentment against the British troops sent to Boston to maintain order and to enforce the Townshend Acts. The troops, constantly tormented by irresponsible gangs, finally (Mar. 5, 1770) fired into a rioting crowd and killed five men—three on the spot, two of wounds later. The funeral of the victims was the occasion for a great patriot demonstration. The British captain, Thomas Preston, and his men were tried for murder, with Robert Treat Paine as prosecutor, John Adams and Josiah Quincy as lawyers for the defense. Preston and six of his men were acquitted; two others were found guilty of manslaughter, punished, and discharged from the army.

See study by H. B. Zobel (1970).

The Columbia Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright© 2015, The Columbia University Press.

Boston Massacre: Selected full-text books and articles

Debating the Issues in Colonial Newspapers: Primary Documents on Events of the Period By David A. Copeland Greenwood Press, 2000
Librarian’s tip: Chap. 21 "The Boston Massacre, 1770"
The Press on Trial: Crimes and Trials as Media Events By Lloyd Chiasson Jr Greenwood Press, 1997
Librarian’s tip: Chap. 2 "The Case of the Boston Massacre (1770): 'A Meloncholy Demonstration'"
Empire or Independence, 1760-1776: A British-American Dialogue on the Coming of the American Revolution By Ian R. Christie; Benjamin W. Labaree W. W. Norton, 1976
Librarian’s tip: "The Boston Massacre" begins on p. 130 and Chap. VII "Aftermath of the Boston Massacre"
The Boisterous Sea of Liberty: A Documentary History of America from Discovery through the Civil War By David Brion Davis; Steven Mintz Oxford University Press, 1998
Librarian’s tip: "The Boston Massacre" begins on p. 154
The Struggle for American Independence By Sydney George Fisher Books for Libraries Press, vol.1, 1971
Librarian’s tip: Discussion of the Boston Massacre begins on p. 138
A College History of the United States By David Burner; Elizabeth Fox-Genovese; Virginia Bernhard Brandywine Press, 1991
Librarian’s tip: "The Boston Massacre" begins on p. 118
The Glorious Cause: The American Revolution, 1763-1789 By Robert Middlekauff Oxford University Press, 1985
Librarian’s tip: Discussion of the Boston Massacre begins on p. 203
A Leap in the Dark: The Struggle to Create the American Republic By John Ferling Oxford University Press, 2003
Librarian’s tip: Discussion of the Boston Massacre begins on p. 74
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