Does the Boston Massacre deserve to be called a massacre?
The death of five colonists should not be referred to as the Boston Massacre. On March 5, 1770 the renowned events called the Boston Massacre took place. The definition of a massacre is “the savage and excessive killing of many people.” (vocabulary.com) In order for the Boston Massacre to qualify as an actual massacre, there would need to be more people killed by the British shots. The events would make more since if referred to as a riot rather than a massacre. Another reason is that only the British shot their guns. The Boston Massacre started simply as several young boys throwing snowballs at British soldiers. Then, more of the colonists joined them and they threw ice and also continued to taunt the Redcoats. The British though they heard their general say for them to “fire,” but Captain Thomas Preston did not actually order them to. Only a few shots were fired, before the whole scene was shut down. Since only one side of the opposing forces shot, it can not be considered a massacre. It was not deliberately planned and it kind of just happened out of the blue. It is not like the Redcoats were planning on killing some of the colonists that night, they were just standing at their posts. Normally when a massacre takes place, it is a big and bloody disaster. Comparing the deaths of five colonists to the death of one hundred people, there is a huge difference in the amount of blood shed. The bodies were cleaned up quickly unlike most massacres when it can take days to get rid of all of the bodies and blood. Adding to this point, Paul Revere painted the famous drawing titled “The Boston Massacre.” This piece of artwork exaggerates the events that happened that night many years ago and makes the Patriots look innocent, while the Redcoats look to be the cause of the killings. If the painting was embellished quite a bit, than the shootings can be referred to as a massacre. Overall, there are various points that can prove that the five colonists killed on March 5, 1770 should not be called a massacre. The definition of massacre does not match up with the events that took place, the acts were not planned, as well as only one side of the opposing forces shot their guns by accident, and several historical sources of the events were embellished leading to the observation that the Boston Massacre should not be called a massacre.