Wednesday, March 21, 2012

The Boston Massacre

While there are many children's books that cover the events of Lexington and Concord it is much harder to find accurate, age appropriate material that covers the Boston Massacre. The Boston Massacre (Graphic History)by Michael Burgan is another entry in the Graphic history series.

This book starts with the conflicts and issues leading up to the mob scene that resulted in the British Regulars firing on colonial citizens. It discusses the Stamp Acts and the reaction that arose after the colonists found out their long standing relationship with Great Britain and taxes had changed.

The book does something few on the topic do, it gives the reader a bit of perspective on how the loyalists felt by telling the story of a loyalist shopkeeper who was attacked by mobs determined not only to harm his business, but his person. Many textbooks fail to address that the mobs in Boston were not just a concern to the British, but to Colonial leaders as well. While they disagreed with the tax policies and the monopolies that the British government imposed, they were also aware of the danger uncontrolled mobs posed to their futures as well. While they proved useful in creating disturbances such as they Boston Tea Party that rallied public outrage, they were aware of the dangers that could occur should they lose control of the mob's focus, too.

The book does not address how the incident came to be known as the Boston Massacre when similar previous encounters did not reach this level of colonial outrage. That is something teachers and parents will have to seek other resources to discover.

It does however, address John Adam's involvement with the trial of the soldiers accused of murdering civilians in the incident. His actions in defending the soldiers created some animosity between Adams and certain colonial leaders. Adams felt that instead it created the legitimacy of the movement. It was not a mob movement, but one that respected the rule of law.

This book does a good job at trying to recreate the very hostile atmosphere of an occupied Boston. Loyalists had issues with those who sought more freedom. Tensions occurred as a distant Parliament sought more control and instead created more chaos. Orders like the Quartering Act which seemed reasonable to the British government, only created more anger and tension. This in turn gave more support to mobs, which in more reasonable times, people would have turned against.

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