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The Incident on King Street commonly known as the Boston Massacre was a key moment in the development of the American Revolution. A number of people were killed in a street fight between British troops and American people.
See the fact file below for more information on the Boston Massacre or download the comprehensive worksheet pack which can be utilised within the classroom or home environment.
- In 1765, a secret society called the Sons of Liberty was formed opposing the implementation of the Stamp Act. The Stamp Act was passed by the British Parliament on March 22, 1765, which required American colonists to pay tax on printed materials.
- Two years later, colonists were further outraged by the passage of the Townshend Acts. They were a series of laws that set new taxes on British imported goods such as tea, paper, glass, and paint. In addition, it also aimed to raise British revenue to compensate the cost of war. The Acts included the Revenue Act, Indemnity Act, Commissioners of Customs Act, Vice-Admiralty Customs Act, and the New York Restraining Act. Colonists believed that taxes passed by the Parliament should not be imposed on them since they did not elect their own representatives. The motto “No to taxation without representation” emerged as their battle cry.
- Since then mobs and riots emerged. Under the request of Governor Francis Bernard, British troops were sent to Boston to protect colonial officials in 1768.
- Paul Revere was one of the founding members of the Sons of Liberty. He was known for his midnight ride on the eve of the American Revolution.
- In order to enforce their protest, colonists led by the Sons of Liberty boycott British goods affected by the Townshend Acts.
- On March 4, 1770, a day before the incident, numbers of Boston residents had an encounter with British soldiers at John Gray’s Ropewalk in Fort Hill district. In particular, Private Matthew Kilroy argued with Samuel Gray.
The Night at King Street
- On March 5, 1770, the Twenty-Ninth Regiment led by Captain Thomas Preston met a large taunting crowd of American civilians in front of the Customs House on King Street in Boston, Massachusetts. There were around 20,000 Bostonians and 4,000 British soldiers known as the Redcoats. The factions were led by Thomas Hutchinson, Royal Governor, and Samuel Adams, a patriot.
- During the incident, British soldiers who were stationed in Boston opened fire and killed five men and injured six others after some local Boston people had been shouting and threatening them. The British soldiers fired their guns into the crowd and instantly killed three men. The other two men later died of their wounds.
- Over 50 men were threatening the soldiers and throwing objects at them before the shots were fired. Many local Bostonians did not agree with the British army being in their city.
- The five men who died in the incident were Crispus Attucks, Samuel Gray, James Caldwell, Samuel Maverick and Patrick Carr. Crispus Attucks, an escaped slave, was thought to be the first American casualty of the American Revolution.
- The British called the Boston Massacre, the Incident on King Street as the word ‘massacre’ is usually used to describe an event where hundreds of people are killed.
- The Bloody Massacre in King Street is a famous, historic engraving by Paul Revere that shows British soldiers firing into an American crowd. This picture of the incident was inaccurate but represents how American people saw the situation.
- Thousands of Boston residents attended the funeral of the victims as they walked towards the Liberty Tree. Samuel Adams chaired the committee that investigated the incident on the side of the colonists. The town meeting was held at the Faneuil Hall where they insisted that British troops leave the town. It was Samuel Adams who coined the term “Boston Massacre.” On the other hand, Governor Hutchinson conducted their own investigation and sent the findings to London.
- On November 27, 1770, Captain Preston and eight of his men were brought to trial. In defense of the soldiers were Josiah Quincy Jr. and John Adams, who became the second President of the United States. While the prosecutors were Robert Treat Paine and Samuel Quincy.
- All eight soldiers involved in the incident were arrested. Six of them were released and two were charged with manslaughter. Their punishment was ‘branding of the thumb’.
- The soldiers were Corporal William Wemms, Private Hugh Montgomery, Private James Hartigan, Private William McCauley, Private Hugh White, Private Matthew Kilroy, Private William Warren, and Private John Carroll.
- On December 2, 1770, Capt. Preston returned to England and paid £200 for the chaos he caused. Privates Kilroy and Montgomery, who were charged with manslaughter were granted the benefit of clergy and avoided the death sentence.
- The incident was used by Samuel Adams and Paul Revere to stir the patriots across the thirteen colonies.
- By 1773, the Tea Act was passed and after a year, the Boston Tea Party took place.
- The event served as one of the contributing causes of the American Revolution that happened in 1775.
Boston Massacre Worksheets
This bundle includes 11 ready-to-use Boston Massacre worksheets that are perfect for students to learn about this key development within the American revolution where a number of people were killed in a street fight between British troops and American people.
This download includes the following worksheets:
- Boston Massacre Facts
- Fact or Bluff
- Word Finder
- Event in Numbers
- Picture Analysis
- Eyewitness: Captain Thomas Preston
- Eyewitness: James Woodall
- Boston Casualties
- Point of View
- The Bloody Massacre in King Street
- Justifiable or Not?
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Link will appear as Boston Massacre Facts & Worksheets: https://kidskonnect.com - KidsKonnect, February 24, 2018
Use With Any Curriculum
These worksheets have been specifically designed for use with any international curriculum. You can use these worksheets as-is, or edit them using Google Slides to make them more specific to your own student ability levels and curriculum standards.