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what was the intention of the British when the Boston Massacre happend

British soldiers were occupying Boston to enforce tariff and trade laws, as well as try to end the mob rule that was prevailing there.  There was no police force in Boston at the time, so British troops were essentially serving as the police.

The Boston Massacre started when a mob attacked a lone sentry standing watch on the street.  He was attacked with rocks, sticks, and snowballs.  The rest of his unit turned out to defend him and also came under attack.  The soldiers were unable to get the mob to back down and continued to be attacked.  Eventually the soldiers fired into the mob, killing three and wounding eight.  Two of those wounded later died from their wounds.

Essentially, the eight soldiers were surrounded by a mob estimated at 300-400 people, all throwing things at them and threatening them.  The soldiers eventually fired their weapons out of a combination of fear and self-defense.

I hope this helps!
- Mike  

U.S. History

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Michael Troy


I can answer just about any question on early American History. My specialties are the American Revolution through the Civil War/Reconstruction. I also have greater expertise in matters relating to military, political or legal history.


I have lectured at George Washington University regarding the Civil War, as well as several elementary school Civil War demonstrations. I was also a member of a Civil War reenactment group for about 10 years.


J.D. University of Michigan B.A. George Washington University

Awards and Honors
Truman Scholar

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