Boston Massacre: a Significant Event in American History

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On March 5, 1770, an event occurred that is considered by many to be a major point in the American Revolution and American history. This event was the Boston Massacre. On that day, British Army soldiers stationed in Boston shot into a crowd killing five civilians and injuring six others. The soldiers were stationed in Boston two years prior to the event to help protect colonial officials because the very unpopular Parliament laws that were coming into effect were getting the colonists pretty upset. Riots broke out, property was destroyed and people were attacked by these rules. Mobs were a frequent thing that occurred and one of them formed around a soldier on this day. The colonists were upset and were verbally abusing the soldier and throwing objects at him. That soldier was later joined by eight other soldiers. They were overwhelmed by the angry mob and decided to shoot into the crowd without hesitation or orders to do so. Overall the shots killed five people and injured six. Paul Revere engraved a depiction of the event that occurred. However, this picture has many aspects of propaganda and portrays England very negatively.

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First, it has card stacking. Card stacking is only showing the facts that will make the public react in a desired way. In this case, any information to support the soldiers was ignored and not shown. The depiction of the event in the case of card stacking shows a bunch of dead colonists on the ground. It also shows the line of soldiers acting like a firing squad. They are all standing next to one another shooting blind at the colonists. As this is true, the colonists formed a mob around the soldiers and they were not far away. It also made it seem like there is a commander behind the line of men with his sword out. This is making it appear as if he is the leader and gave the orders to shoot the people when that did not happen. The picture makes it seem like the soldiers are heartless killers.

Another use of propaganda in the picture is loaded words. Loaded words are using descriptive or emotionally charged words to make the person looking at the picture feel a certain way. They are carefully selected to influence a person’s opinion. In this picture, there are two words that stand out significantly. Those words are “Butchers Hall” which is located on a building located on the soldier’s side of the shooting. The picture tries to make it look like the soldiers were butchers and just shooting the colonists for the hell of it. The soldiers were surrounded by the colonists and probably nervous for what was going to happen next. They were already being verbally abused and having things thrown at them. Also, at the top of the picture, it says “The Bloody Massacre.” The term bloody makes things seem a lot worse than they actually were. Yes it was bloody, but it is made to seem like it was a complete bloodshed with blood everywhere.

A third use of propaganda is misleading numbers. Misleading numbers is making up a statistical number to make a person’s opinion go in your favor. The picture shows all of the soldiers shooting their guns. If they were all shooting their guns into a crowd of people, then there would be a lot more dead colonists than there actually was. Also, the crowd of people is rather small compared to an angry mob. There would be a lot of people during this as the colonists hated the new laws being passed and would easily join in throwing things at the soldiers.

The picture that Paul Revere depicted of the Boston Massacre is a pure instance of propaganda. It has propaganda all over it whether it is misleading numbers or card stacking. The goal of the picture was to make England look like ruthless killers which they did a good job at doing. The picture made England look terrible even though this isn’t the entire story to what had happened. The facts are shown, but only to support the colonies in saying England was bad. This picture has become an iconic image for the country of America.

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