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Boston Massacre

Badly disguised as Indians, a rowdy group of patriotic vandals kicked a revolution into motion

Sixteen historic sites in Boston remind Americans of the events that led to our nation’s birth, from the Boston Massacre to Bunker Hill and the USS Constitution.

Editor's Note: Brent Glass is Director Emeritus of the Smithsonian’s National Museum of American History and the author of 50 Great American Places: Essential Historic Sites Across the U.S., from which this essay is adapted.  Read more >>

It is one of the most familiar incidents in American history, and also one of the least understood in many ways

A little after 9:00 p.m. on March 5, 1770, a detachment of British soldiers fired into a crowd of townspeople on King Street in Boston, in the Massachusetts Bay Colony. The result—the “Boston Massacre”—has echoed through the pages of newspapers, pamphlets, and history books ever since. Read more >>

Even the worst offender, even the most unpopular cause, deserves a good lawyer. Our example is a passionate moment in Boston on the eve of the Revolution, when John Adams undertook to defend the hatred British soldiers who had fired into a Boston mob and created some “martyrs.” There are echoes of our own times in the trial that followed

We hope you enjoyed this essay.

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