Unveiling Historical Complexity: The Boston Massacre's Varied Narratives - Essay Sample

Published: 2024-01-23
Unveiling Historical Complexity: The Boston Massacre's Varied Narratives - Essay Sample
Type of paper:  Essay
Categories:  History Law Government
Pages: 8
Wordcount: 1926 words
17 min read

The history can be defined as past events. Many non-historians have some assumptions about history. First, they assume everything that happened in the past is history, and the main objective of history is to explain a sequence of past events. The second assumption is that history's most significant limitation is getting the details correct based on archaeology. These assumptions cannot be overlooked since history is positively focused on the sequence of occurrences of events and attempts to be precise with the actors and the details of their actions. The question is, what qualifies as a history according to the historians? First, history is not a recording of all past events; it involves the selection and interpretation of events which has effects on the current world. Secondly, the selected historical narrative should form the basis for argument, unlike science history is formed on the people's opinions, and good historians should understand and appreciate the different opinions, which further explain a given event.

Trust banner

Is your time best spent reading someone else’s essay? Get a 100% original essay FROM A CERTIFIED WRITER!

Past events are the foundation of history, but not all past events are recorded in the books of history. Then the question is what counts as history, and what is regarded as not? The answer to this question is that the critical events which happened in the past are regarded as history. The past man's struggles and the personal limitations that lead to a loss or win are the foundation of history. History does not record only the happy moments but also includes the painful moments of humanity. The present historians have noticed that some critical past events are not supposed to be forgotten, but they pose a risk of not being forgotten. These events are mostly connected to feminism movements, revolutionary freedom groups, labor union organizations, and wars that emerge from injustices. The definition of Herodotus and Thucydides suggests that only events that involve man's struggle, accuracy, and conflicts are regarded as history, and there are other struggles they decide not to disclose thus the historical narratives are selected events, social systems, and historical actors. To elaborate on the foundation of the culture, this paper will discuss the Boston Massacre a painful event that ought not to be forgotten.

It was on March 5, 1770, when the Boston Massacre occurred. The British officials fearing for their lives after the Massachusetts riots called for the British troops to keep order in Boston, the soldiers arrived under the command of General Thomas Gage. The troop's arrival worsened things, and the troops were poorly paid, so they decided to take the jobs at lower rates than those of Boston civilians. The hate toward British soldiers grew, and the youths named them "lobsters for sale", the youths used the word "Yankees" to intimidate the soldiers, but the troops took pride in it, and they responded with "jeered". The hate escalated, and on the night of March 5, 1770, a group of youth provoked the British soldiers by through sticks, snowballs, and stones at them. British guards opened the guns and started shooting. The outcome of this conflict was the death of five civilians who were shot and killed by the British guards. Crispus Attucks sailor and former slave was the first to die.

John Adams believed that the crowd had provoked the guards, and he successfully defended them in a court of law. It was not the first time the British soldiers had killed an innocent civilian, six weeks before the Boston Massacre, the British guards had shot and killed a young boy. Then, why is Boston so crucial to the consciousness of American citizens, and it is discussed in almost every American history book? To answer this question, this paper will discuss typical accounts that characterize the historical events as discussed that is the reenactment and epic tale accounts.

In the Boston massacre, there are two existing national identities. The two accounts were always referred to in the U.S.A. history books in the 20th century depending on the country's political climate. In the first account, the courageous group of unarmed patriots challenges the armed British guards by casting snowballs at them. The angry and inhuman armed British guards shot the unarmed patriotic citizens and killed them. The Boston citizens arranged for big funerals to honor their fallen heroes. The British guards afraid of the Boston citizens escaped to the island in Boston harbor. What is significant in this historical narrative is a sacrifice for freedom. In the second account uncivilized mob assaults and threatened the cold and frightened British guards who were non voluntarily stationed in Boston. However, the mob was not armed with machine guns; they used snowballs, stones, and large wooden staves to attack the guards. Unintentionally the guards started to shoot, the bells were rung, the mob started to increase, and the guards escaped. The military leader and the acting governor ordered the arrest of the guards involved. Afraid of more mob actions American patriot, Sam Adams decides to defend the guards in the law court. Adam wins the case, and the guards are set free, the primary purpose of this account is the significance of law over mob rule and the value of justice even in situations where it is inconsistent with the individual political goals.

Although these two accounts of events make the Boston massacre qualify as the historical narrative, there is another altered account. The altered account of history will describe the time frame of the event and determine the change in historical conceptions. The altered account has for parts, first describes the start and end of the historical event, second explains the actions that took place, third explains the author and the objective of the historical event and fourth explains the reasons behind keeping the memory of historical events and who benefits from them.

At first, the event in comparison to the process is the best way of describing a historical phenomenon. It starts by describing the period the event took place, explaining the individuals who were involved in the event, and lastly elaborates on the beginning, impact, and end of the historical event. In this account, one can describe the Boston massacre from the beginning to the end and its impacts. Some will argue that the start of the Boston Massacre is based on the 1763 Stamp Act and was in retaliation to the British imposed taxes on the newsprints, marriage licenses, and farmers the people in Massachusetts took a tax collector from his office and feathered him which promoted similar events to happen in other colonies in response to the British policy. These mob actions against British policy led to the loss of their lives. Others will argue that the beginning of the Boston massacre was steered by the arrival of British guards in 1768. The people were resistant to the British government's orders to shelter the troops since they were seen as enemies; this made the troops camp outdoors during cold Boston winter. The enmity between the Boston citizens and the British troops resulted in conflicts of two years, causing the March 5, 1770 massacre. Others will argue that the conflict was a result of a labor dispute between the impoverished locals and unpaid, angry, and cold troops who were in severe struggle and rummaged for work (beard and Beard, 1943; Zinn, 2003).

Based on these three begins, a person can argue by constructing the historical story of the events that took place. Each choice should provide relevant and reliable evidence to qualify as a historical narrative. The main aim of the approach is not to appear accurate. However, the historical principles emphasize accuracy, and the primary focus is to create an argument about the causes of the Boston massacre. Historians can achieve this by selecting relevant materials in constructing an argument. The historian also needs to determine the ending point of the historical event. To integrate the beginning and end of a historical event, the historian has first to determine the reasons behind the occurrence of the event and the results expected of it.

For example, if one argues that the Boston massacre was a historical event where the rule of law was used to put an end to the mob rule, then the narrative will end by arresting, charging, trialing, and release of involved British troops. The narrative will be based on Sam Adams, a person who believed in the rule of court law. Adam sacrificed his reputation by betraying his community to demonstrate the importance of court law. Adam hated mob justice and wanted to prove to the colonial government that the natural law was followed.

On the other hand, if one argued that the Boston massacre was one of the frequent events where a common man had to take matters into his own hands to respond to unfavorable British policies, then the end of the narrative would be the end of the revolution. The beginning of this narrative will be a conflict between the Massachusetts farmers and the newly established government due to their inability to pay taxes. The farmers were rioting against the financial burden placed on them by the British government. After unsuccessfully urging the local government for several years to revive the economy by reducing taxes, Daniel Shay in the company of other farmers raided the local armory in Springfield, stole the arms, and engaged in a fight with the soldiers who were the local government. Although they lost the battle, their actions initiated a constitutional law that directed the government to be responsive to its citizens. Lastly, suppose one argues that the purpose of the Boston massacre narrative was to pressure the British government to reverse its policies. In that case, the narrative will end with the removal of the troops to Castle Rock. The presence of the 4000 troops in the Boston city, a town of 15000 people was believed to be intimidating and mobbish. The British government decided to remove the troops following the advice of Massachusetts Governor Hutchinson before the trial; it led to a retreat from the original intent of riots.

Even though the start and end of the historical narrative may vary, this does not mean that the validity of a historical event should be in doubt. The selection of where the historical accounts start and the end is purposely to pass information concerning the current problem. It should be written with an argumentive mind that provides accurate and relevant information. Thus the beginning and end of historical events are some of the features that describe the foundation of history.

In the construction of the historical narrative, the historian can also focus on what happened before, during, and after events. The modern historians use the work of those who witnessed the event. For example, in the Boston massacre after the event, there were different activities that took place. The different conflicting approaches took place, for example, Captain Preston the participant and leader of the British troops, wrote a letter to his superiors explaining the event. The local newsletters were published and distributed to all colonies. Paul Revere crafted a British armed officer firing on unarmed civilians. Sam Adam ignored the Boston massacre and went to court to defend the soldiers even though five people had died. The newspapers used the Revere art in all colonies as an insight into sympathy toward the colonists and anger toward the British guards. Unlike the other riots, the colonial government responded and took control by taking the soldiers to court for trial. The trial process also provides further information to the historian. Thus, in trying to discuss what happened, the historian has a lot of sources to evaluate.

Cite this page

Unveiling Historical Complexity: The Boston Massacre's Varied Narratives - Essay Sample. (2024, Jan 23). Retrieved from https://speedypaper.com/essays/unveiling-historical-complexity-the-boston-massacres-varied-narratives-essay-sample

Request Removal

If you are the original author of this essay and no longer wish to have it published on the SpeedyPaper website, please click below to request its removal:

Liked this essay sample but need an original one?

Hire a professional with VAST experience!

24/7 online support

NO plagiarism