There’s a distraught woman in the image. Is there evidence that any women were at the Boston Massacre? Historians don’t know for sure who the woman in the engraving is meant to be. She could be Jane Whitehouse, who witnessed the shooting. She also could be a grieving mother whose son was killed. Without knowing what Revere was thinking, we can only make our best guess. Maybe that’s the point!
Gun in Butcher’s Hall Window
Look closely and you can see that there is a gun pointing out of the second story window behind the soldiers. There probably wasn’t a person shooting a gun from inside the building that night. Why do you think the image shows a gun in the window?
Revere’s print shows a crowd of well-dressed colonists standing away from the soldiers. How does that compare with who was in the crowd and what they were doing? Why did Revere show the crowd this way?
Revere’s engraving includes a small dog front and center. The dog stands calmly facing the soldiers. Historians think the dog could mean different things: some say it is a symbol of loyalty, showing that British soldiers are firing on loyal British subjects. Some historians think the dog is a reference to the colonists being treated like dogs. What do you think?
“The Bloody Massacre”
Paul Revere made the title of this image “The Bloody Massacre,” although an earlier version of the image had the title “The fruits of arbitrary power, or the Boston Massacre.” What is the difference between these two titles? Why do you think Revere used the chosen title?
Look closely and you can see that there is a gun pointing out of the second story window behind the soldiers. There is little evidence that a person was shooting a gun from inside the building that night. Why do you think the image shows a gun in the window?
The soldiers in the image are in a straight line, firing their muskets in unison. How does this compare with other eye witness accounts? Why would Revere show the soldiers this way?
Who is depicted here in the image? Why is he important? The image shows Crispus Attucks. Attucks was a man of African and Native American descent from Massachusetts. As the first person to die in the Boston Massacre, Crispus Attucks has been remembered for sacrificing his life in the name of liberty.
In the image, one soldier stands behind the other soldiers with his sword up. This is Captain Thomas Preston ordering his men to fire. Why do you think Revere showed this, even though it is unclear whether Preston gave the order to fire?