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iii. It seems as though residents of Boston collected sworn testimony in part to make it seem as though the British soldiers were solely responsible for what happened. Note: If you have students read Drowne’s full testimony, they may note that Drowne claims that masked individuals shot at the crowd from the Custom House. Other witnesses made similar claims. Eric Hinderaker’s Boston’s Massacre (2017, pp. 214-220) provides more details about these claims and whether they are believable. b. In pairs, students read the document and answer the rest of the Guiding Questions. Share out. Students may note the following: i. According to Drowne, the British soldiers were the aggressors and hardly any of the residents of Boston were armed.
STANFORD HISTORY EDUCATION GROUP sheg.stanford.edu ii. According to Drowne, most of the crowd had left by the time the shots were fired. iii. According to Drowne, Preston insisted that his men fire on the crowd. 7. Final Discussion: a. What are the similarities and differences between these documents? b. Can we answer the Central Historical Question? c. Which document do you think provides a more trustworthy account of what happened at the Boston Massacre? d. What other types of documents might you want to examine to further study what happened at the Boston Massacre? e. Why might it not be possible to know exactly what happened? 8. Debrief: It may be helpful to tell students about the subsequent trials of the British soldiers. There were two separate trials: Preston was tried by himself, and eight of the soldiers were tried together. John Adams, a leading Patriot, served as a lawyer for the British soldiers. Preston was acquitted of all charges. Six of the eight soldiers were acquitted. Two of the soldiers were convicted of manslaughter for firing into the crowd. Normally the punishment for a manslaughter conviction was death, but first-time offenders were allowed to “plead clergy” and not receive punishment. However, individuals were only allowed to “plead clergy” once and were branded on the thumb to make sure that they only used the privilege once. Documents Image 1 Revere, Paul. The bloody massacre perpetrated in King Street Boston on March 5th1770 by a party of the 29thRegt. 1770. Prints and Photographs Division, Library of Congress. Retrieved from Image 2 Nell, William. Crispus Attucks, the first martyr of the American Revolution, King Street, Boston, March 5th, 1770. 1855. Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture, Manuscripts, Archives and Rare Books Division. Retrieved from and Document A Preston, Thomas. "The Case of Capt. Preston of the 29th Regiment." Public Advertiser(London), April 28, 1770. Retrieved from
STANFORD HISTORY EDUCATION GROUP sheg.stanford.edu Document B Drowne, Samuel. "Sworn Testimony." In History of the Boston Massacre, 90-91. Albany, NY: Joel Munsell, 1980. Retrieved from -books/john_adams.php