Boston Now and Then

When we were in Boston we went on a tour called the Freedom Trail. This is a trail that took us around Boston and to many of the sites that were important in the Revolution. On the trail we realized that many things were different in the time of the American Revolution: their daily life, their relations with Britain, and warfare were all different from modern times. Here are a few examples:

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Printer with a hand painted picture of the Boston Massacre

Today, many of the things that we have are very convenient. They are cheap, easy to make, and easy to buy. But during colonial times, most things took a long time to make and weren’t always cheap and available. For example in Boston we learned that chocolate used to only be a drink. The chocolate was made in to hard chunks. These were too hard and bitter to eat by themselves so they added sugar and water to make hot chocolate. Then they would only drink it in small cups because it was very sweet and the sugar and chocolate were very expensive. Usually making the blocks of chocolate would take a couple of hours and would be very hard to make which is why it cost so much. Another example from the Freedom Trail is when we visited a printing shop where the person was printing copies of the Declaration of Independence. It was very interesting because we saw how the printing press worked. When they wanted to print something they had to place each individual letter on the printing board! This would take the printer hours to make each paper. Imagine if you had to print multiple sheets of paper each with 900+ letters and putting them in the correct place. Then the printer took two giant stamps and put ink on the letters. Finally he put the sheet down and pulled a lever that put thousands of pounds of pressure on them. When it came out it looked like a newspaper today but with no pictures or color. This took so long to do that people didn’t make papers every day like they do today because it took so much work. Chocolate and printing are just two examples of things were different about daily life back then.

Also today, England is one of America’s greatest allies. Our countries help each other in many ways, but during revolutionary times the British and the colonists didn’t get along very well. During the Revolutionary War period Britain didn’t like America. They thought that the people in America couldn’t rule themselves and that they belonged to Britain because they had settled the colonies. The colonists thought that they were British too and because of this they should have the same rights as the people in Britain. The British didn’t agree with this and they taxed the colonists. This made them mad so when a British ship with tea (one of the main taxed goods) came into a port in Boston the people dressed up like Native Americans and threw the tea into the harbor. The British didn’t like this at all and they sent troops to Boston and as punishment closed the port so that no ships could come in. The people in Boston were starving and many of the people were not making any money. Before this had happened the different colonies had not paid much attention to each other but now all of the colonies were sending food and other things to Boston to help them against the British. Another thing that the Boston Tea Party did was that it stirred up hate against the British. The other colonies started thinking about Revolution and started training militias to fight against the British army. All of this shows how the British treated the colonists and how the colonists responded rebelliously to them

Modern warfare is based on stealth, speed, and accuracy. The war between colonists and British soldiers was out in the open, slow, and inaccurate. During the Revolutionary War the soldiers would stand in lines and shoot all at once.This might sound kind of dumb but there is a reason behind all of this. The guns they used were incredible inaccurate so if they all stood in a line and shot then they would hit more people than if each person aimed at one enemy. They stood so close because the muskets could hit a person 75 feet away at most.  During the war the British had another problem. The muskets at that time made huge amounts of smoke when they were fired and no one knew who was the enemy and who was not. So they decided that they would just wear big red coats. This was a great plan because then it was clear that they were the British and their soldiers would not be confused who was who. However, there was one flaw. It was also perfectly clear to the enemy that they were the British and that was who they were to shoot. So when the colonists were hiding to ambush the British, they would see the bright red coats. All in all the British might have been the strongest army of the time but they might not have been the smartest. Both armies used tactics much different from todays.

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Revolutionary War reenactment

As you can see in the time of the Revolution many things were different from the way that they are now. They had a difficult overall lifestyle, unbearable relations with each other, and unproductive ways of fighting. I think that it was interesting to see how people lived back then and I hope we can see more of how people lived at different times.

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