On the evening of March 5, 1770, a crowd gathered in Boston’s King Street and confronted a sentry and his fellow soldiers in front of the custom house. The confrontation led the soldiers to fire their muskets into the crowd, five civilians died.
What happened on the night of March 5, 1770 that led the crowd to gather and the soldiers to discharge their weapons?
Eric Hinderaker, a distinguished professor of history at the University of Utah and the author of Boston’s Massacre, assists our quest to discover more about the Boston Massacre.
About the Show
Ben Franklin’s World is a podcast about early American history.
It is a show for people who love history and for those who want to know more about the historical people and events that have impacted and shaped our present-day world.
Each episode features a conversation with a historian who helps us shed light on important people and events in early American history.
Ben Franklin’s World is a production of the Omohundro Institute.
Eric Hinderaker, a distinguished professor of History at the University of Utah and the author of Boston’s Massacre, leads our investigation of the Boston Massacre.
During our conversation, Eric reveals what the Boston Massacre was, when it took place, and what we know about its participants; Colonial and imperial reactions to the Massacre; And, the ways both Bostonians and British officials used the Massacre to further their causes.
What You’ll Discover
- Overview of the Boston Massacre
- Participants in the Boston Massacre
- How many times the soldiers discharged their weapons
- Problems with eyewitness testimony
- Bostonians’ reactions to the shootings on King Street
- Why Boston sent a pamphlet relating the shootings on King Street to London
- British response to the shooting in King Street
- Boston by 1770
- Political structure of Boston
- Boston’s reputation as a “mob” or “riot” town
- The arrival of British soldiers in Boston
- Boston under military occupation
- What having soldiers garrisoned in Boston meant for the town and its people
- The soldiers’ training
- Town, colonial, and imperial officials’ response to the shootings on King Street
- The soldiers’ trials
- John Adams’ work as a defense attorney for the soldiers
- Bostonians’ reaction to the outcome of the soldiers’ trial
- Bostonians’ use of the Boston Massacre in the years following the event
- Long-term legacy of the Boston Massacre
Links to People, Places, and Publications
- Eric Hinderaker
- Boston’s Massacre
- The Two Hendricks: Unraveling a Mohawk Mystery
- The 1978 “Boston Massacre” Red Sox season
- Paul Revere and Henry Pelham’s Engravings of the Boston Massacre
- Massachusetts Historical Society, “Perspectives on the Boston Massacre” online exhibit
- Massachusetts Historical Society, Online Collections, “Boston Massacre”
- “A Short Narrative of the Horrid Massacre” Pamphlet
- John Adams writes about his experience as a defense attorney for the soldiers, John Adams Diary, vol 3, Adams Papers Digital Edition
- Omohundro Institute
- Omohundro Institute Books (Use Promo Code 01DAH40 to save 40 percent)
- Bonus Episode: The Stamp Act of 1765
- Episode 106: Jane Kamensky, The World of John Singleton Copley
- Episode 112: Mary Beth Norton, The Tea Crisis of 1773
- Episode 129: John Bell, The Road to Concord, 1775
- Episode 130: Paul Revere’s Ride Through History
- Episode 161: Smuggling and the American Revolution
- Episode 186: Max Edelson, The New Map of the British Empire
Time Warp Question
In your opinion, what might have happened if Captain Preston, or any of his men, had been found guilty of murder? How would the course of the American Revolution have been different?
Questions, Comments, Suggestions
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