which boston lawyer defended the british soldiers put on trial after the boston massacre

by Winifred Wehner 8 min read

John Adams

Who did John Adams defend in the Boston Massacre?

Jan 05, 2015 · Which Boston lawyer defended the British soldiers put on trial after the Boston Massacre? - 240181 dloetz2004 dloetz2004 01/05/2015 History Middle School answered Which Boston lawyer defended the British soldiers put on trial after the Boston Massacre? A. Paul Revere B. John Hancock C. John Adams D. Sam Adams 2 See answers

Who was on trial for the Boston Massacre?

Apr 02, 2020 · Adams defended the British officer Thomas Preston and his soldiers in two separate trials. Can you talk about the balancing act Adams undertook to defend all his clients without alienating his...

Who was John Adams — defense attorney for British soldiers?

Which Boston lawyer defended the British soldiers put on trial after the Boston Massacre? Paul Revere Sam Adams John Adams John Hancock 2 See answers Advertisement Answer 5.0 /5 1 bonitaappleboom04 john adams defended the british soldiers good gob Advertisement Answer 0 kyleeswafford99 John adams Hope this helps Advertisement Survey

What testimony did the defense have in the Boston Massacre?

That is what these Bostonians wanted! The only hope for Preston and his men lay with this short, stocky country lawyer—a colonial American after all—John Adams, and his too young assistant Josiah Quincy. Seven months had passed since the “horrid, bloody massacre” took place on the 5 th of March. But the passions of the people remained strong.

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Who was the British officer in charge of the Boston Massacre?

Eight British soldiers and their officer in charge, Captain Thomas Preston, faced charges for murdering five colonists. Not far from the Custom House, a 34-year-old Boston attorney sat in his office ...

What happened in Boston on March 6th 1770?

The blood remained fresh on the snow outside Boston’s Custom House on the morning of March 6 , 1770. Hours earlier, rising tensions between British troops and colonists had exploded into violence when a band of Redcoats opened fire on a crowd that had pelted them with not just taunts, but ice, oyster shells and broken glass. Although the soldiers claimed to have acted in self-defense, patriot propaganda referred to the incident as the Boston Massacre. Eight British soldiers and their officer in charge, Captain Thomas Preston, faced charges for murdering five colonists.

How old was John Adams when he was a lawyer?

Not far from the Custom House, a 34-year-old Boston attorney sat in his office and made a difficult decision. Although a devout patriot, John Adams agreed to risk his family’s livelihood and defend the British soldiers and their commander in a Boston courtroom. At stake was not just the fate of nine men, but the relationship between ...

Who is the author of John Adams Under Fire?

In the new book John Adams Under Fire: The Founding Father’s Fight for Justice in the Boston Massacre Murder Trial, Dan Abrams and coauthor David Fisher detail what they call the “most important case in colonial American history” and an important landmark in the development of American jurisprudence. Abrams, who is also the chief legal affairs ...

Did Captain Preston order his men to fire?

Stunningly so. I think the verdicts are almost exactly what we would see today. It’s obvious to me that Captain Preston didn’t order his men to fire, and he was acquitted. They could have convicted all the soldiers for the actions of one or two of them, but they didn’t—because there simply wasn’t evidence that the others were involved in the shooting. And I think that’s an amazing testament to the jurors of the day.

Did the British use reasonable doubt?

Yes, they were using British law, but there was also this sense that the colonists wanted their own system of law, so some of the rules were different. This was the first time reasonable doubt had ever been used as a standard. It was the first time a jury was sequestered. This was definitely a case of firsts.

Did Adams blame the city for the skirmish?

Adams didn’t blame the city for initiating the skirmish. He kept it very, very focused on the facts of this particular instance—what happened, who was there, the specific individuals—and did not make it a broader indictment of the Sons of Liberty and others who had supported violence against the British soldiers.

Who was the British grenadier who was involved in the Boston Massacre?

Photo Courtesy of Independence National Historical Park. The crowd strained forward in the Queen Street courtroom on October 17, 1770. Murmurs and rumblings of anger filled the air. Captain Thomas Preston, a British grenadier, shifted his feet nervously and felt the sweat rising to his brow.

Who was the lawyer who was the only hope for Preston and his men?

That is what these Bostonians wanted! The only hope for Preston and his men lay with this short, stocky country lawyer—a colonial American after all—John Adams, and his too young assistant Josiah Quincy. Seven months had passed since the “horrid, bloody massacre” took place on the 5thof March.

What did Adams mean by the phrase "Plea of Clergy"?

The “Plea of Clergy” meant that instead of death, the two men would be branded on the thumbs as first offenders, never to be permitted to violate the law again.

What would a fair trial show the world?

Only a fair trial would show the world that Massachusetts, and by association all Americans, deserved their liberty by an appeal to justice and not by the rule of a mob. Captain Preston had his doubts that a fair trial was possible. Yet there was something about his lawyer that gave him hope.

Who was the first colonist killed in the Boston Massacre?

After a soldier was knocked down, someone fired into the crowd, confused, and killed the first colonist in the Revolutionary War — Crispus Attucks. Panic ensued, and soldiers fired into the crowd of colonists. After the skirmish ended, five of the colonists had been killed.

Who was on trial for murder in 1766?

John Adams, 1766 Wikimedia Commons. C. aptain Thomas Preston and eight British soldiers were on trial for murder. They would need an excellent attorney to represent them with a jury full of anti-British colonists. Who would be willing to take on such a task?

How long did the jury hear Preston?

The jury found Preston not guilty after a six-day hearing. Boston Massacre lithograph, Henry Pelham Wikimedia Commons. Next on trial were the eight soldiers under Preston’s command on the night of the Boston Massacre. There was a different jury for this trial and they were, once again, sequestered.

Why was Boston important to the British?

Boston was a major port for trade as well as a hotbed for Patriot activity and organization. Britain stationed a large garrison of troops in the city with the aim of controlling unruly colonists who were resisting customs officials. On March 5, 1770, a crowd gathered outside the Customs House that was being guarded by the British.

What did Adams and the defense argue about the crowd?

Adams and the defense argued that the crowd was endangering the soldiers’ lives and they acted in self-defense. He called witnesses that described how the crowd verbally threatened the soldiers and threw objects at them. Witnesses recalled how the mob had repeatedly called for the British soldiers to be killed.

How many soldiers were found not guilty of murder?

After deliberating for three hours, the jury found all eight soldiers not guilty of murder. Two of the men were found guilty of the lesser charge of manslaughter and their penalty was reduced to branding on the thumb. The other six soldiers were completely cleared of all charges.

How did the Boston Massacre impact the legal system?

The impact on today’s legal system. The Boston Massacre trials served as a landmark case for the new justice system in the colonies. This trial was the first time that a jury was sequestered, which is now typical practice in high profile cases. The standard of reasonable doubt was also introduced during this trial.

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Trouble in The Colonies

The Search For Justice

  • Governor Thomas Hutchinson arranged to have the accused soldiers removed to an island in Boston Harbor. The Attorney General issued murder indictments for Captain Thomas Preston and eight other soldiers for their participation in the riot. Before the trial, Loyalists and Patriots engaged in a propaganda war. Patriot cartoons and articles painted the riot as an all-out attack …
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The Trial Begins

  • Preston’s trial began on October 24, 1770. For the first time, the jury was sequestered away from family and friends for the duration of the trial. The key question was whether or not Preston had given the order to fire. Preston strongly denied giving any such order. Witness testimony was mixed, with some saying he gave the order and others declaring he did not. Adams was able to i…
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The Verdict Is Delivered

  • In his closing statements, Adams reminded the jury of the law of self-defense. He recalled testimony that the crowd was chanting to kill the British soldiers. Adams implored the jury to consider how they would react when a mob was calling for their death. He entreated the jury to judge the case based on facts and evidence, rather than their Patriot...
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The Impact on Today’S Legal System

  • The Boston Massacre trials served as a landmark case for the new justice system in the colonies. This trial was the first time that a jury was sequestered, which is now typical practice in high profile cases. The standard of reasonable doubt was also introduced during this trial. In his instructions, one of the judges reminded the jurors that they needed to be “convinced beyond a r…
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