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The Boston Massacre Trial: Guilty or Not Guilty? Essay

The Boston Massacre was a small tragedy that is making a large mark in the state of Massachusetts. This event will forever be remembered as the day that British soldiers heartlessly slaughtered many innocent civilians. The soldiers in this situation are most definitely guilty of manslaughter. They wounded and killed many citizens without provocation that threatened their well being, therefore giving them no good reason to have opened fire in the first place.

We now look to Paul Revere’s famous engraving, which clearly depicts a row of soldiers standing and opening fire on what appears to be a crowd of helpless civilians and even a harmless dog. None of the civilians have any weapons in their hands, nor do they seem to be charging the soldiers or even attempting to fight back. While this is probably slightly exaggerated, there is no possible way that Paul Revere would have completely changed the actual events around just for a better engraving. He created this to represent the events as best as he could, which leaves us with a very legitimate source.

In the Boston Gazette during the week of the Boston Massacre, an article was written explaining exactly what occurred during that fateful evening. William Merchant, a youth, struck one of the soldiers with a small stick. While this initially may seem like an attack on the soldiers that could have caused them harm, the key point here is that Merchant hit him with a small stick. Only a weak man would be scared of a stick, and based on the behavior exhibited by the soldiers on that night, not only are they strong, but heartless as well. Therefore, Merchant’s small stick could not be perceived as a threat by any means.

After a few more harmless prods by some bored youths, the Captain of the soldiers commanded his soldiers to open fire on the group of townsfolk that had gathered in the area. He said, “damn you, fire, be the consequence what it will!” His blatant disregard for the well being of the innocent people around him shows that he definitely intended to harm the townsfolk without any real provocation. He even admits in his Defense of Military Action that his soldiers “rushed through the people, and by charging their bayonets in half circles, kept them at a little distance.” This also proves that Captain Preston’s soldiers charged the crowd with intent to frighten them, at the very least.

It is very obvious who is at fault in this situation. The soldiers and their captain killed innocent civilians without aggravation, which is simply illegal. No harm was done to the soldiers, which gives them no right to hurt of threaten anybody.

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