Talk to Shed New Light on 1770's Boston Massacre

Talk to Shed New Light on 1770's Boston Massacre

The Boston Massacre of 1770 is widely considered to be one of the catalysts of the American Revolution; English troops stationed in colonial Boston fired upon and killed five American colonists, an event that galvanized the American public to rally to the Patriot cause. George Mason University’s Department of History and Art History, along with the Virginia Chapter of the Society of the Cincinnati, invite the public to take a closer look at this explosive and meaningful incident.

On September 26, 2016, Professor Serena Zabin of Carleton College will present a talk, "The Boston Massacre: An Intimate History," which examines the social and familial circumstances surrounding the event, offering insight into of the direct causes of the Revolutionary War.

Professor Zabin will tell the story of ordinary families in an extraordinary moment on the eve of the American Revolution. When British troops were ordered into Boston in 1768, British politicians hoped that their presence would intimidate Bostonians and quell the fires of resistance. Instead, soldiers put down roots, intermarried with native Bostonians, and became full-fledged members of the Boston community. In 1770, after British soldiers shot and killed a small number of unarmed civilians, a firestorm of controversy erupted. Yet the conflict that erupted was not only political; it was also personal, severing familial ties and disrupting community relationships. The Boston Massacre became a clash not of strangers but of neighbors who knew each other all too well.

The Society of the Cincinnati was founded at the end of the American Revolutionary War by officers of the Continental Army and their French comrades. It is the oldest private patriotic organization in the United States and its mission is hereditary; the Society’s founders charged their descendants with the purpose of “preserving the memory of the patriotic sacrifices that made American liberty a reality.” Now a nonprofit educational institution, the Society offers events and exhibits that highlight the nation’s early history.

The Society has paired with Mason’s Department of History and Art History to present “The Boston Massacre: An Intimate History,” as the first of a series of lectures that will contribute to knowledge of this crucial period of American history. The talk takes place at 5:00 pm in the Fenwick Library Main Reading Room # 2001 on the Fairfax Campus and is free and open to the public. A reception will follow.