The Bloody Massacre
Shortly after the Boston Massacre took place, Paul Revere produced one of the most
effective pieces of war propaganda in history, named the “The Bloody Massacre in King-Street”.
This piece, not accurately depicting the real event, shows an orderly line of British soldiers firing
into a crowd of colonists. In this piece Revere uses many techniques of propaganda to portray
both the colonists and the british as he wanted them to be conveyed. During this time there were
also stereotypes held about the British soldiers, and the colonists, and Revere used these to his
advantage in his piece.
One technique Revere uses in his piece is the act of card-stacking. He chooses to leave
out and ignore the facts that do not favor his side or opinion. For example he blatantly leaves out
the fact that the colonists were the first to taunt the soldiers. It started with the taunting and
harassment of one colonist to a soldier and increased quickly as a big crowd of colonists formed.
The soldier hit the colonist before any shots were fired. They “picked up chunks of ice and threw
them” as they hurled constant insults at the soldiers (Ladenburg). Revere left this out to make it
seem as if the soldiers began firing with no apparent reason. As colonists came together, the
crowd grew to over 300 colonists, and by now, 7 soldiers and the Captain were circled around
the Customs house. A club was thrown at the soldiers, knocking Private Montgomery, one of the
assigned soldiers, to the ground. Upon standing up in pain and distress, Montgomery fired the
first shot into the colonists. No one seemed to be hit and there was a pause but colonists
continued to attack the soldiers, now more violently. A few moments later Private Kilroy fired at
the colonists and shot Gray through the head. From the shots began to fire continuously. Revere
ignores the events leading up to the the massive firing and depicts the event differently than it
actually took place. Revere portrays the colonists as reacting to the British when in fact they had
been attacking the soldiers before any gun was ever fired. He also shows the captain ordering his
soldiers to fire when in reality, there was no order to fire. People started to get hurt, it became
very chaotic, and shots began were fired with no order to do so.
Revere also skillfully uses stereotyping to portray the Massacre as he wanted it to be
seen. In the picture the soldiers can be seen as brutal and merciless. There faces are sharp and
rough in comparison...