American Revolution
The Boston Massacre

The Boston Massacre
Reading Level
     edHelper's suggested reading level:   grades 4 to 6
     Flesch-Kincaid grade level:   7.86

     challenging words:    Lobsterbacks, manslaughter, massacre, incident, refused, wounded, miserable, jury, particularly, saying, core, murder, shots, privilege, actually, gruesome
     content words:    British Parliament, Samuel Adams, Paul Revere, John Adams

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The Boston Massacre
By Jane Runyon

1     In 1765, the British Parliament passed a law stating that the soldiers being sent from England to protect their interests in the colonies were to be housed by the colonists. They were to be given access to the homes, barns, or shelters that the colonists owned without having to pay for the privilege. You can imagine that the colonists did not like this law at all. They didn't want the British soldiers in their colonies in the first place. They made life as miserable for the British soldiers as they could. They refused to let them in their homes and even called them names like "Lobsterbacks." They chose this name because when a lobster is cooked, it turns a bright red color. The colonists thought this looked a lot like the color of the uniform coats the soldiers wore. The colonists also threw sticks and stones at the soldiers as they passed by to show their unhappiness.
2     Actually, the soldiers really didn't want to be in the colonies. They were thousands of miles away from their homes and families. They were receiving very little pay for what they were doing. And to top it off, they really didn't care what happened to the citizens of this new land because the colonists had chosen to leave the mother country of England in the first place. Neither side was very happy.
3     One very cold day in March of 1770, a British soldier was out looking for some extra work when he came upon a group of particularly boisterous colonists. They made some rude comments to the British soldier who was feeling very menaced by the group. They began throwing sticks and stones as well as snowballs with ice at their core. As the soldier neared an encampment of other soldiers, he called for help. A British captain and eight of his troops came to the rescue. The story isn't quite clear as to what happened next, but there was pushing, shoving, and the throwing of more snowballs. It is said that the colonists dared the soldiers to fire on them. It is said that the captain ordered his men not to fire. But somehow, the first shots were fired by the British. When the shooting stopped, the soldiers had killed five colonists and wounded seven more.

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