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Who was responsible for the Boston Masacre - Essay Example

Despite the amount of supporting evidence available, it would take regard on a level of precision that could address controversies herein on the basis of efficiently “deducing which witnesses were telling the truth, which were lying, and which were simply mistaken” (Wheeler et al 87) alongside an equivalent focus on the central question “What really happened in the Boston Massacre?” in the process. On account of the depositions provided by Capt. Thomas Preston during the trial, the sequence of events stated appears sufficiently concrete where specific details were discussed by the captain himself as an unbiased witness among the actions of his troops, the mob created by the Boston inhabitants, and his response to the prevailing conflict. Preston confessed “On my asking the soldiers why they fired without orders, they said they heard the word fire and supposed it came from me – This might be the case as many of the mob called out fire, fire, but I assured the men that I gave no such order” (89) while he avoided any subjective sentiment which might be necessary as the captain further testified that the boisterous crowd threatened them with increasing riots and exclamations of insulting phrases from the civilians. Paul Revere’s ‘Engraving of the Boston Massacre’ image, however, exhibits an opposing view presenting how armed soldiers line up as if due to a deliberate scheme of firing at the townspeople in protest (98). A primary witness Robert Goddard attested “I saw no person speak to him

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– I was so near I should have seen it – After the captain said ‘Damn your bloods fire’ they all fired one after another about 7 or 8 in all, and then the officer bid Prime and load again” (92). A couple other witnesses made similar testimonies yet whose stories differ widely in content that they seem to build an impression that the main incident comprised sub-events to which people expressed various reactions. For one, William Wyat claimed “They fired and people scattered” (90) whereas in the description of John Cox, “The Captain came up and stamped and said Damn their bloods fire again and let ‘em take the consequence.” Likewise, witness Benjamin Burdick attempted clarifying with “I asked him if he would fire, he said yes by the Eternal God and pushed his Bayonet at me” (91). Based on the historical timeline demonstrating how one act led to another, the American Revolution was at its reasonable heights having originated from imposition of additional taxes on common products by the British Parliament, pressing the colonists to struggle with their already burdened state of economy and standard of living at the time. On the contrary, there were those who conveyed favour at the side of the captain like David Cornwall who heard Capt. Preston exclaiming “Don’t fire!” In the same manner, Jane Whitehouse explicated “A man came behind the soldiers … encouraging them to fire” while another witness, a negro named Newton Price uttered in agreement “The people were calling them Lobsters, daring ‘em to fire saying damn you why don’t you fire” (95). Apparently, these are quite in sharp contradiction with the former statements of the other side, indicating that one of them must be fabricating a story in order to conceal the real truth and save the favoured faction. This likely puts the credibility of testimonies with inconsistent substance under question, granted that they depict uncertainties, emotional tone of accusation in exaggerating detail, and surprisingly missing information about logical links between occurrences told. Hence, truth may seek its way to


In the endeavour to determine who was indeed responsible for the Boston Massacre of 1770, Wheeler and company recommends the method of reconstructing the scene itself, in the context particularly of the actual order and sequence of events, considering how the involved men, civilians and officers alike, were individually oriented in space and what was each person’s exact position…
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