Propaganda In Paul Revere's The Boston Massacre

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On March 5th, 1770 an event broke out on King’s Street in Boston that would forever shape the course of history. This event is the Boston Massacre, although the term “massacre” is a misnomer, as only five people died at this historic event. It is due to the many depositions, news articles, and other propaganda forms that were released after this event that this misnomer took hold. Propaganda is defined as “information, ideas, or rumors deliberately spread widely to help or harm a person, group, movement, institution, nation, etc.” ( The most famous propaganda that came out of this historic event is Paul Revere’s engraving which he titled “The Bloody Massacre.” The title, even without the engraving, is propaganda in and of itself…show more content…
First, the colonists are not armed in this picture, and it can almost be assumed that the colonists were peaceful before the British attacked. This is a false hood as Preston’s account of the Boston Massacre in Marcus depicts the colonists as “striking their clubs and bludgeons.” The colonists were also armed with snowballs, but snow is not depicted in Revere’s engraving. The engraving also features the colonists reacting to the soldier’s violence, when this is a falsehood as the colonists instigated the violence, as Preston says the colonists “…surrounded the sentry there, and with clubs and other weapons threatened to execute their vengeance on him” (Marcus, pg. 104). The colonists that were involved in this mob would have been young men of the laborer class, as the Boston Gazette and Country Journal points out (Marcus, pg. 110). However, in the engraving they are depicted as gentlemen, shown by the hats they are wearing, and thus elevating their status and effecting the way other colonists perceived the colonists in the mob. In the rear of the crowd, a woman can be seen, especially very clearly in Wheeler’s pg. 98 blown up picture of the engraving. She appears very distressed, which would have affected the emotions of 18th century colonists who would have cared very much about a woman being in this type of horrid scene. There is also no clear depiction of Crispus Attackus, a mulatto man that died at the Boston Massacre. Revere may have chosen to leave this out so that other colonists racist tendencies would not affect their judgement of seeing the British as the “bad guys.” The colonists also appear to be depicted as cowering from the violence, and wanting to take care of the 3 dead that died that day, and the many wounded, and thus were conveyed as the victims of the brutal British. This bloodshed can easily be seen by the 3 men that have blood
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