Why Was the Boston Massacre Important? - Lesson for Kids

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Lesson Transcript
Instructor: Rebecca Gillaspy

Dr. Gillaspy has taught health science at University of Phoenix and Ashford University and has a degree from Palmer College of Chiropractic.

The Boston Massacre was a tragic event in American history that became a turning point in America's quest to become an independent country. Learn how the Boston Massacre moved the American colonists one step closer to the Revolutionary War.

What Was the Boston Massacre?

Did you ever have to deal with a bully? If you did, then you know that a bully can make life hard. Your parents or teachers might tell you that it's good to ignore the bully and 'turn the other cheek,' but sometimes a bully can make you so mad that you want to fight back. That's what happened in Boston, Massachusetts, in 1770, and the result was a terrible event that's remembered as the Boston Massacre. The word massacre is a term used to describe a mass killing of innocent people.

The Boston Massacre was a fight that broke out in 1770 in Boston, Massachusetts, that ended with British soldiers killing five American colonists. This was an important event in American history because it united the colonists against Britain, which would have eventually led to the Revolutionary War, which was the war that won America its independence from Britain.

What Caused the Boston Massacre?

You might be wondering why Britain and America were fighting. Well, back before the Revolutionary War, America was not an independent country. At the time, the 13 American colonies were ruled by Britain. At first, this arrangement worked out fine, but then Britain started asking the colonists to pay taxes. A tax is a sum of money citizens pay to the government in exchange for services, protection, and support.

Some taxes might have been okay with the American colonists, but when the British government passed a group of laws known as the Townshend Acts, the colonists felt like they were getting bullied by Britain. The Townshend Acts required the colonists to pay money to Britain when they bought things like paper, glass, and tea. Many of the colonists thought this tax was unfair, and tempers started to flair. British soldiers were sent to Boston to regain control, but this only added to the tension.

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