Performance AssessmentComparing Differing Points of View of the Same Historical Event
Purpose: Analyze three versions of the same event and note important similarities and differences in the points of view.• Method: Students will analyze and write about a picture and two documents on an important event leading up to the American Revolution. Students will be asked to include other information that they know about the American Revolution in their responses.
Step 1:First study the picture below.Then answer the questions that follow. “The Bloody Massacre perpetrated in King Street BOSTON on March 5th 1770.” Library of Congress
The picture on the preceding slide shows an important event in the American Revolution.Using your knowledge as an historian, answer the following questions: 2.What event does the picture show? 6.When did this event happen? 10.Who made the picture? When did they make it? Fill out the following chart.
DOCUMENT B:Taken from a published statement by British Captain Thomas Preston, June 25, 1770.I was between the soldiers and the mob, asking them to leave peaceably. While I wasspeaking, one of the soldiers was hit with a stick, then stepped a little on one side andfired. Turning to ask him why he fired without orders, I was struck with a club on myarm. On this, a general attack was made on the men by a great number of heavy clubsand snowballs. Our lives were in danger. Someone called out, “Damn your bloods. Whydont you fire”. Instantly three or four of the soldiers fired, one after another, and thenthree more in the same confusion and hurry. The mob then ran away, except threeunhappy men who died. When I asked the soldiers why they fired without orders, theysaid they heard the word fire and thought it came from me.1. Who made this statement? What date did they make it?
DOCUMENT C:Taken from “A Short Narrative of the Horrid Massacre in Boston. Printed by Order of the Town ofBoston.” Written by Sam Adams and his fellow Patriots, in July, 1770.Captain Preston and seven or eight soldiers, with firearms and bayonets, came fromthe guardhouse, and stood in front of the Custom House. In passing, the soldierspushed several persons with their bayonets. This caused some snowballs to be thrownat them. The soldiers formed a half circle; and within a short time began to fire uponthe people. Captain Preston is said to have ordered them to fire, and to have repeatedthat order. One gun was fired first; then others till ten or a dozen guns were fired. Bywhich eleven persons were killed or wounded.1. Who made this statement? What date did they make it?
Step 2What important things are the same in all three sources:the picture and both documents? In the following chart,list as many important similarities as you can.(List at least three. Five is better.) a. b. c. d. e.
I was between the soldiers and the mob, asking them Captain Preston and seven or eight soldiers, withto leave peaceably. While I was speaking, one of the firearms and bayonets, came from the guardhouse,soldiers was hit with a stick, then stepped a little on and stood in front of the Custom House. In passing,one side and fired. Turning to ask him why he fired the soldiers pushed several persons with theirwithout orders, I was struck with a club on my arm. bayonets. This caused some snowballs to be thrownOn this, a general attack was made on the men by a at them. The soldiers formed a half circle; andgreat number of heavy clubs and snowballs. Our lives within a short time began to fire upon the people.were in danger. Someone called out, “Damn your Captain Preston is said to have ordered them tobloods. Why dont you fire”. Instantly three or four of fire, and to have repeated that order. One gun wasthe soldiers fired, one after another, and then three fired first; then others till ten or a dozen guns weremore in the same confusion and hurry. The mob then fired. By which eleven persons were killed orran away, except three unhappy men who died. wounded.When I asked the soldiers why they fired withoutorders, they said they heard the word fire and -From “A Short Narrative of the Horrid Massacre inthought it came from me. Boston. Printed by Order of the Town of Boston.”, July, 1770 -British Captain Thomas Preston, June 25, 1770
The documents come from different points of view, a British Royal Captain and a group of Colonial Patriots, including Sam Adams. Complete the chart below.Based on your reading of these documents, what do you think Based on your reading of these documents, what do you thinkthe British Captain was thinking during this event? Write your the Patriots were thinking during this event? Write youranswer in the thought balloon above. answer in the thought balloon above.What evidence from Document B supports your thinking about What evidence in Document C supports your thinking aboutCaptain Prescott? (Write at least two to three things.) the Patriots? (Write at least two to three things.)a. a.b. b.c. c.Image of Sam Adams used with permission from the Florida Educational Technology Clearinghouse: http://etc.usf.edu/clipart/.
Step 3You just read and compared two documents and a picture thatpresent two points of view on why soldiers fired on BostonColonists on March 5, 1770.Based on your experience as an historian, why do you think it isimportant to compare more than one source of historicalevidence on the same event? Write at least two or threesentences.
This assessment was developed by the EmergingAmerica Program of the Collaborative for Educational Services with funding from the U.S. Department of Education Teaching American History Program. It may be used as long as full credit is given.