The Boston Massacre Crispus Attucks was not only the first African American to die for the revolution, he was one of the first patriots to give his life for the cause. American blood was shed on American soil. The showdown between the British and the Americans was not simply a war of words. Blood was shed over this clash of ideals.
On the evening of March 5, crowds of day laborers, apprentices, and merchant sailors began to pelt British soldiers with snowballs and rocks. A shot rang out, and then several soldiers fired their weapons. When it was over, five civilians lay dead or dying, including Crispus Attucks, an African American merchant sailor who had escaped from slavery more than twenty years earlier.
Not an accurate depiction of the actual event, it shows an orderly line of British soldiers firing into an American crowd and includes a poem that Revere likely wrote. Revere based his engraving on that of artist Henry Pelham, who created the first illustration of the episode—and who was neither paid nor credited for his work.
Here are a few of the elements Paul Revere used in his engraving to shape public opinion: The British are lined up and an officer is giving an order to fire, implying that the British soldiers are the aggressors.
The colonists are shown reacting to the British when in fact they had attacked the soldiers. This makes the British look more menacing. The British soldiers look like they are enjoying the violence, particularly the soldier at the far end. The colonists, who were mostly laborers, are dressed as gentlemen.
Elevating their status could affect the way people perceived them. There is a distressed woman in the rear of the crowd.
This played on eighteenth-century notions of chivalry. Dogs tend to symbolize loyalty and fidelity. The dog in the print is not bothered by the mayhem behind him and is staring out at the viewer.
In many other existing copies of this print, he is not portrayed as African American. Other Interesting Facts In the first edition, the time on the clock was incorrect. Revere had it corrected immediately.
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By the beginning of , there were 4, British soldiers in Boston, a city with 15, inhabitants, and tensions were running high. On the evening of March 5, crowds of day laborers, apprentices, and merchant sailors began to pelt British soldiers with snowballs and rocks.
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