Within days of the Boston Massacre, Bostonians politicized the event. They circulated a pamphlet about “the Horrid Massacre” and published images portraying soldiers firing into a well-assembled and peaceful crowd.
But why did the Boston Massacre happen? Why did the British government feel it had little choice but to station as many 2,000 soldiers in Boston during peacetime? And what was going on within the larger British Empire that drove colonists to the point where they provoked armed soldiers to fire upon them?
Patrick Griffin, the Madden-Hennebry Family Professor of History at the University of Notre Dame and author of The Townshend Moment: The Making of Empire and Revolution in the Eighteenth Century, joins us to answer these questions as we continue our 3-episode investigation of the Boston Massacre.
About the Show
Ben Franklin’s World is a podcast about early American history.
It is a show for people who love history and for those who want to know more about the historical people and events that have impacted and shaped our present-day world.
Each episode features a conversation with a historian who helps us shed light on important people and events in early American history.
Ben Franklin’s World is a production of the Omohundro Institute.
Patrick Griffin, the Madden-Hennebry Family Professor of History at the University of Notre Dame and author of The Townshend Moment: The Making of Empire and Revolution in the Eighteenth Century, joins us as we continue our 3-episode investigation of the Boston Massacre.
As we investigate the imperial context of the Massacre, Patrick reveals details about the Townshend Moment; Information about the British Empire and how it functioned after the French and Indian or Seven Years’ War; And, the Townshend Plan for imperial and colonial reform.
What You’ll Discover
- The Townshend Moment
- State of the British Empire after the Seven Years’ or French Indian War
- Charles and George Townshend
- Lord Halifax and his work on the Board of Trade
- The valuable lessons Charles Townshend learned from Lord Halifax
- The governance structure of the British Empire
- How British Atlantic trade functioned prior to the Seven Years’ War
- The impact of the Seven Years’ War on British Atlantic Trade
- Ways the British Empire sought to reform its trade and empire after the Seven Years’ War
- The Stamp Act Crisis of 1765
- Differences between provincials and Britons
- Ideas about British sovereignty
- The Townshends’ rise to power
- The Townshends’ plan for imperial and colonial reform
- American reaction to the Townshend Duties
- John Dickinson, Letters From a Farmer in Pennsylvania
- Parliament’s reaction to the American response to the Townshend Duties
- British militarization of North America
- The Townshend Duties and the Boston Massacre
- Intersections between the American crisis and the crisis in Ireland
- The end of the Townshend Moment
Links to People, Places, and Publications
- Patrick Griffin
- The Townshend Moment: The Making of Empire and Revolution in the Eighteenth Century
- American Leviathan
- Bonus Episode: The Boston Stamp Act Riots of 1765
- Episode 106: Jane Kamensky, The World of John Singleton Copley
- Episode 112: Mary Beth Norton, The Tea Crisis of 1773
- Episode 161: Smuggling and the American Revolution
- Episode 186: Max Edelson, The New Map of the British Empire
- Episode 228: Eric Hinderaker, The Boston Massacre
In your opinion, what might have happened if Charles Townshend had lived to see his plan for empire implemented? Would British North America still have turned to Revolution?
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