The 3 Major Consequences Of The Boston Massacre

Event DateMarch 5th, 1770
Notable People InvolvedPaul Revere and Samuel Adams
Area of WorldBoston, North America
Further ReadingThe 7 Most Influential Founding Fathers Of The U.S and Boston Tea Party: The 3 Reasons Why The Tea Was Dumped

In the spring of 1770 British soldiers fired into a crowd of British colonists in the city of Boston. This event would be heavily publicized across the colonies and gain the infamous name of the Boston Massacre. This event created a series of consequences for both the British and the Colonists.

There are 3 main consequences of the Boston Massacre. First, across the Colonies the British soldiers were viewed as enemies. Second, the trial of the British soldiers demonstrated to the colonists that they were above colonial law. Third, the event caused British Colonists to fear for their life and began the process of arming themselves.

The Boston Massacre in many ways jump started the Revolutionary War. After 1770 the people around New England started to be fearful of British occupation and began to push back against the crown. This erupted in 1775 with the Battles of Lexington and Concord.

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Without further ado, here are the 3 major consequences of the Boston Massacre.

Across The Colonies The British Were Viewed As Enemies

One of the major consequences of the Boston Massacre was that between 1770-1775 the British began to be seen as enemies of the colonists.

Shortly after the Boston Massacre there was a push by American patriots to distribute anti-British propaganda around the colonies. From George up to Massachusetts images of the Boston Massacre along with detailed pamphlets began to circle.

Even the loyalists to the crown started to question if the British were right to have fired upon a crowd protesting in front of a unit of soldiers. Even though the British soldiers were not given the order to fire they panicked in response to the colonial mob who were throwing rocks and snowballs at them.

However, the propaganda that circulated throughout the 13 colonies attempted to paint the British as enemies of true American patriots. This sparked a media war around the colonies.

Loyalists to the crown would write pamphlets that displayed the British as fighting for their lives. The patriots on the other hand wrote detailed images of the British openly firing into an innocent crowd.

However, because of the patriot communication networks their depiction of the event circulated across the 13 colonies faster. The loyalists depiction of the event managed to fare better across the landed gentry of the colonies and back in London.

However, one of the main consequences of the Boston Massacre was that across the colonies the British started to be seen as enemies of the colonists.

The Trial Of The Soldiers Demonstrated To Many Colonists That The British Were Above Colonial Law

One of the main consequences of the Boston Massacre was that it demonstrated to a lot of patriot colonists that the British were above colonial law.

While this certainly was not the case it was circulated in patriot media as such.

The future U.S president John Adams agreed to represent the British soldiers when all other lawyers in Boston refused to. The reason for this refusal by the Boston lawyers was because a majority of them were colonial patriots themselves. John Adams only agreed to represent the British to ensure a fair trial.

John Adams expertly defended the British soldiers and their leader Captain Preston. He argued that the soldiers were fearful of their life and that by condemning them a precedent would be set for mob rule. Further, Adams in his closing statement stated that this only further proved that any standing army that was mixed with citizens presented a danger to the state.

By presenting this argument all the British soldiers would be acquitted of any major charges. Only two would be punished with the penalty of thumb branding to mark them in society.

(This defense was so good that historians have argued that John Adams modeled it after the famous Roman statesman Cicero.)

However, across the colonies the colonial patriots took this defense as indicating that the British were above colonial law. This was because the governor of Massachusetts, Thomas Hutchinson, delayed the trial by a year.

This further alienated the loyalist governor Hutchinson from the British colonists who feared that any British soldier committing a crime would not face punishment.

As such one of the major consequences of the Boston Massacre was that the British colonists began to fear that British loyalists were above the law. This fear was further exasperated when in 1774 the British passed the Administration for Justice Act which further degraded colonial faith in the British legal system.

The Boston Massacre Caused Colonists To Begin To Arm Themselves

Another one of the main consequences of the Boston Massacre was that it pushed the colonists to begin to arm themselves against the British.

In 1770 Samuel Adams began to argue that a reform was needed in the local militias across the colonies. This militia, later named minutemen, was to be heavily armed and trained to provide for the necessary defense against standing armies.

From 1770 up until 1774 several prominent politicians around Boston would use the Boston Massacre for propaganda purposes to help arm and train several large militias.

Across the Massachusetts countryside the British colonists began to arm themselves at an alarming rate. This however was allowed according to the Massachusetts government. For nearly 200 years the average British colonist was allowed to defend their property and land.

However, now the militia was being trained to fight against large standing armies. This trend would continue for 5 years after the Boston Massacre until full scale revolution started after the battles of Lexington and Concord.

As such one of the main consequences of the Boston Massacre was that British colonists began to arm themselves.

Conclusion

There you have it; an entire article surrounding the 3 main consequences of the Boston Massacre.

The years of 1770-1774 in the British colonies remains a fascinating topic of research. We know very little of what happened or the network of colonial informants that helped inform the minutemen of the advancing British right before Lexington and Concord. Potential history graduate students will find substantial material to build out a research paper here.

Here at The History Ace I strive to publish the best history articles on the internet. If you enjoyed this article consider subscribing to the free newsletter and sharing around the internet.

Further, you can check out some of the other articles below.

Sincerely,

Nick