What Act By Customs Officers Began A Series of Events That Led To The Boston Massacre?
It was the Commissioners of Customs Act 1767, which led to the infamous Boston Massacre on 5th March 1770.
The Commissioners of Customs Act was one of the five Townshend Acts created in 1767 and 1768.
The other four acts were:
- The New York Restraining Act
- The Revenue Act
- The Indemnity Act
- The Vice-Admiralty Court Act
The Parliament of Great Britain passed the Commissioners of Customs Act on 29th June 1767.
What Was The Purpose of The Commissioners of Customs Act?
The act was created to enforce shipping regulations and increase tax revenue in the 13 colonies.
Also, the act intended to prevent the smuggling of commercial goods with Dutch and French colonies.
The Act created a new custom board with five custom officers headquartered in Boston, Massachusetts.
Previously, though the British authority had a custom board; but they sited in London. Therefore it was almost impossible to enforce the customs laws properly (smuggling was still much easier).
Once the British authority created the custom board in Boston, it became much easier for them to implement the laws properly.
Why It Angered American Colonists And Led To The Infamous Boston Massacre?
Once the act came into full enforcement, anger widely spread throughout the 13 colonies.
The act especially angered local merchants and shippers, who were making money before via smuggling with Dutch and French colonies. Now smuggling was no longer easier.
As resistance to the law (including other 4 Townshend Acts), colonists’ leaders organized wide-ranging protests.
On 5th March 1770, a group of Americans was protesting in Boston to repeal the Townshend Acts. But later due to the mobs’ involvement, the protest started talking a violent form.
The protestors started attacking British soldiers (on duty) with snowballs, sticks, oyster cells, and other things. Suddenly, one soldier lost control & shot the protestors.
It encouraged other soldiers to do the same. Immediately on the spot, five protestors had to give up their lives.
In the history of the United States, the event is still infamous as Boston Massacre.