Analysis of Engraving by Paul Revere about Boston Massacre

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The picture I chose is the third one, The Bloody massacre. In the illustration, I see two groups of people, one group that have uniforms and guns and portray soldiers, and the next group wearing blue clothes with no signs of weapons and seem to be commoners. There is smoke everywhere where we see many of the soldiers shooting at the commoners, and see two of the common people shot and dead on the ground. While looking at the picture at first, my eyes were drawn to the dead men lying on the ground; since it is positioned in the front and the color of red caused by blood makes my eyes direct to this pop of color compared to the dull background colors.

What makes this special is the arrangement of the groups of people, the common people looking defenseless and fearing for their lives looking at the soldiers with their grins and satisfaction in their faces of shooting human beings and also the randomness of a dog standing in front of everyone. The physical setting is on a street in front of large buildings and could tell this is in a big city of the advanced architecture in 1770 in America at the time.

On top, there are words displayed saying, The Bloody massacre perpetuated in “something” street, and at the bottom of the page is a large passage of words that I can barely read, but have no idea what it is saying (Keeping in mind that this was made in 1770 and totally different English than modern day English). Right below the picture states “Engrav’d printed sold by Paul Revere Boston”, We can take a wild guess of who was behind this illustration and could dig deeper to see what was the purpose of this illustration and the integrity from Paul Reveres picture.

Looking at the date of which it was published, March 5, 1770, we can trace history back and know that at the time, America was not yet America, but rather the American Colonies owned by England. At this period, the colonies were in high tensions against the crown and opposing polices that have been imposed upon them. I believe this image was an act of propaganda by the colonist to push the colonist over the edge with the massacre and to make British soldiers seem as the ultimate deep evil that kill ordinary people with no cause and with satisfaction.

While reading the textbook, we do learn what really happened at this event, A lone soldier guarding a Boston customs house, and a group of young men approached the lone soldier and started to throw snowballs at him. Not that big of a deal yet, but then more and more people started to take notice and then act and brought in a crowd and, “snowballs, stones, and other projectiles flew in greater numbers” (Hewitt page 155). The lone guard cried for help and captain Thomas Preston arrived with seven more soldiers to back him up. The crowd roaring at the British and the soldiers could not hear anything, but yelling, and then, “A gun fired, and soon more shooting erupted. Eleven men in the crowd were hit, and four were “Killed on the spot”’ (Hewitt page 155).

There was confusion among the soldiers if they were given an order to shoot and this in turn caused outrage among the colonist knowing of the massacre they have just witnessed in the hands of the British with American blood on their hands. Ordinary citizens began to think that the British had become tyrannical and they must be stopped immediately. The audience for this illustration was going to be all the colonist of America and colonist made sure that the massacre was spread around the land to showcase the evil doers of the British soldiers. The textbook also stated that, “They also circulated an engraving by Bostonian Paul Revere that suggested the soldiers purposely shot at a peaceful crowd” (Hewitt page 159).

Documentation was well developed at this time and it was said that Paul Revere did copy the drawing of the massacre by Henry Pelham and rushing the engrave, he asked Christian Remick to colorize it to display the contrast of colors between the neutral and the harsh red color. We can learn that colors do enhance the effectiveness of this specific illustration to promote the blood in link with the red British uniforms that promote this deep evil.

Also, expressions and body language did paint the common people as fearing for their own lives compared to the grinning and angry soldiers blasting their guns out at the colonist with joy. If someone did make this today, I believe there would be a lot more detail within the drawing and promoting more gruesome in the colonist side to display how harsh the colonist were dealt with at the event. I believe that the colors would stay the same with the dull background with the absence of any color except showing off the red to display the blood and the uniforms of the British to paint them as the enemy.

We can look back at the Paul Revere engraving and see that it was a twisted propaganda story used for the colonist side to paint the British as the type of people to just shoot and kill ordinary people with no cause in the middle of the street and to get more colonist to protest the King’s rule. It comes to show that back then, they used any tactic to find an excuse to gain more support for their specific movement and protests. The Boston Massacre will go down in history as one of the turning points in the resistance of America against the British rule and one of the biggest misunderstandings in history.

The engraving by Paul Revere was a key factor in the long-term fight with the British rule of displaying the fragile poor colonist trying to run away from the tyranny British soldier shots, but in reality, the colonist did start the fight with the stones and snow and the harassment of the lone soldier and one thing lead to another and shots fired killing four. Another specific detail I found quite interesting about the drawing was in the actual event, the text book stated that, “an ex-slave of mixed African and Indian ancestry” (Hewitt page 155). Was present at the massacre and was one of the four dead, but in the engraving, is white and can take a guess of why they painted him white instead of his true skin color. The simplest answer I can think of is that I would lessen the effectiveness of the meaning of the illustration of having an African American aside with the colonist.

In all, the Boston Massacre is very significant in American History to learn the true story portrayed by a false engraving by Paul Revere to help the support against the fight of British rule and showing how America used any way to persuade the colonist and pave the way to become the United states of America that we know and love today.

Cite this paper

Analysis of Engraving by Paul Revere about Boston Massacre. (2021, Nov 11). Retrieved from https://samploon.com/analysis-of-engraving-by-paul-revere-about-boston-massacre/



What is the engraving of the Boston Massacre?
The engraving of the Boston Massacre is a famous image that was created by Paul Revere. The image shows the British soldiers firing on the American colonists.
What was Paul Revere's main purpose in producing the engraving?
Paul Revere's main purpose in producing the engraving was to warn the colonists that the British were coming.
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