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Erik Visits an American Grave, Part 256

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This is the grave of the Boston Massacre dead.

So here’s the thing about the Boston Massacre: it’s one of these super-patriotic moments when our ancestors stood up to those damned lobsterbacks, etc. But this was really a bunch of jerks acting like thugs in the street, throwing rocks and ice at the British soldiers. Those soldiers themselves were not great and weren’t there for some noble reason, no question. But there’s a reason John Adams not only defended the soldiers, but did so effectively. First, the case against the soldiers was incredibly weak and relied upon inconsistent testimony. Second, it was really hard to defend the actions of the Bostonians harassing them. That didn’t mean that Adams liked the British occupation. Of course he did not. In fact, much later, in London, he actually passed the British officer he defended on the street. Adams refused to even acknowledge his existence. The famed Paul Revere print was complete propaganda that looked absolutely nothing like what really happened. For one thing, the soldiers are mowing down the protestors in a bright scene in the Revere print, whereas in reality it was dark and no one knew what was going on. In any case, the only people notable in any real way of the 5 who were killed was of course Crispus Attucks, a part African and part Wampanoag man who is primarily famous because he shows that people of color were involved in the revolutionary movement (although far more African-Americans and Native Americans fought for the British during the actual war than for the obviously slaving and genocidal colonists), and Patrick Carr, an Irish immigrant who lingered for a couple of weeks and gave critical testimony that actually defended the soldiers’ actions, at least against the ridiculous claims of Sam Adams and the like, that helped John Adams with his case.

In any case, yay America, a nation started with ice throwing anti-tax thugs that has evolved so much to the present.

The Boston Massacre dead are buried at Granary Burying Ground, Boston, Massachusetts.

If you would like this series to grumble about other supposedly great moments of American heroism that were in fact also basically idiots acting like idiots, you can donate to cover the required expenses here. Nothing is as lucrative as hating on famous American moments, I know. Previous posts in this series are archived here.

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