Why does this matter today?
So how can an event that took place in 1770 impact historians in 2014?
This event gave Patriot colonists the symbol that they needed to ignite people’s emotions. They named it “The Bloody Massacre” and they spread images of it that were not accurate representations. However, during a time when modern technology was not available to capture history as it happened, nobody could ever really know for sure exactly what took place on March 5, 1770 except the people that were there. The event was passed down by word of mouth and by artists who re-created what happened based on their own memories. Some details are factual such as the snow on the ground in some images because we know that the colonists threw snowballs at the British soldiers. However, other details were largely twisted by the artists. It’s highly unlikely that after the soldiers were bullied by the colonists, they took time to organize themselves and stand in a straight line in exactly the same manner with their left feet forward.
As historians, this makes us aware of the fact that primary and secondary sources can be very limiting in the information that they give us about an event in history. Because occurrences are recorded for future generation by humans, each with their own personal bias, historians must pay attention to that as they engage in the research process.