by Dr. Jeffrey Lant Author's note. To get the most from this article, you should listen to the words and music for a tune called "The World Turned Upside Down". It's an English ballad first published in 1643 as a protest against the policies of Parliament relating to the celebration of . Parliament under the Puritans believed the holiday should be a solemn occasion and outlawed the more raucous celebrations beloved of the English. There are (as with many protest songs) many versions of the lyrics. It is sung to the tune of another ballad entitled "When the King Enjoys His Own Again." You will find several recordings of the music and the various lyrics in any search engine. A day like every other, a day like none other, March 5, 1770. Imagine you are in , Massachusetts Bay Colony. It is March 5, 1770 a typical late winter day, cold, frosty, where the bone-chilling winds off the Atlantic go right through you, the streets (such as they are) byways of grit and mud making travel hazardous to man and beast… and to the soldiers of the king, George III. Men beginning to call themselves patriots were affronted by these soldiers, aggravated by their presence, eager to see the back of them. They had been sent to help local officials enforce the Townshend Acts, a series of laws passed by the British Parliament with a special eye on the always vociferous Bay Colony residents. The Townshend program was to make colonial governors and judges independent of local control, to create a more effective means of enforcing compliance with trade regulations, and to establish the controversial precedent that Parliament had the right to tax the colonies. Then, as now, the very thought of dipping into their pockets turned many otherwise law-abiding men from Loyalists to oppressed, mistreated, ranting, canting "patriots", clothed in righteousness and outrage. Colonists objected that the Townsend Acts were a violation of the natural, charter, and constitutional rights of British subjects in the colonies. The , headquartered in , began a campaign against the Townshend Acts by sending a petition to the king. It also originated what came to be called the Massachusetts Circular Letter to the other colonial assemblies, asking each and all to join the resistance movement. In Great Britain, Lord Hillsborough, recently appointed to the newly created office of Colonial Secretary, blinked. He was alarmed… and he showed it, ordering colonial governors in to dissolve the colonial assemblies if they responded to the Massachusetts Circular Letter. He also directed Massachusetts Governor Francis Bernard to have the Massachusetts House rescind the Circular Letter. The House indignantly refused to comply. Loyalists were adamant that the colonies comply; "patriots" were adamant that their rights as freeborn Englishmen were being trampled, It was not time yet for revolution, but farseeing gentlemen in the quiet of their homes considered the options and revolution (once unthinkable) was one of them… The Townshend Acts were so unpopular in that customs officials requested naval and military assistance. In May, 1768 the 50-gun HMS Romney arrived in Harbor. Many colonists, even the most loyal to the crown, saw this as a provocation as they did the June 10, 1768 seizure of the Liberty, a sloop owned by 's richest citizen and leading merchant, John Hancock. He was charged with smuggling. He probably was… but that didn't stop colonials from being further outraged. To make matters even worse, the captain of HMS Romney impressed local sailors into the King's Navy, a proven way of augmenting a ship's complement and infuriating the colonials. The atmosphere was deteriorating rapidly and the word "revolution" could be heard under the breath of aggrieved Bostonians. Then things got far worse, fast. Lord Hillsborough again was the culprit. Seemingly intent upon fomenting real trouble, his lordship instructed General Thomas Gage, British Commander-in-Chief for , to send any force he thought necessary to pacify the good people of Massachusetts. On October 1, 1768, the first of four regiments of the British army began disembarking in . Relations deteriorated despite the fact that two regiments were removed in 1769. Such was the state of affairs that leaving even a single soldier would have been regarded as brute force, completely unacceptable. Predictably each side (for now there were defined adversaries) looked for ways to trip up the other, while claiming complete innocence and superior morality. Clashes, incidents, fiery language, claims and counter claims were the order of the way. It was just a matter of time until Something Happened. It did, March 5, 1770. The Massacre. A young wigmaker's apprentice named Edward Gerrish brought matters to a head. He claimed that British Captain John Goldfinch had neglected to pay his overdue bill. Such was the poisoned environment in that this trivial accusation was the match required to light all the combustible elements at hand. The irony is that Goldfinch had paid the bill the day before… Mere facts, however, were irrelevant. The colonials were angry… and the British certain to defend themselves if needed. As the evening of March 5 progressed, a crowd grew, becoming restive, belligerent, harassing the soldiers with snowballs and small objects. Private was knocked down and when he recovered his feet, he fired his musket… In the next few seconds, three Americans died instantly — ropemaker Samuel Gray, mariner James Caldwell, and a mixed race sailor named Crispus Attucks. There were other victims, too. And so the patriots had what every revolution must have: innocent victims… and in sufficient quantity, too, to incite revenge and even more outrage. In due course, the British commander, Captain , his men, and four men who were in the Customs House and allegedly fired shots were indicted for murder. No one could be found to defend them…. until the leading patriot of all, John Adams, made the difficult and unpopular decision to defend them. And so he did to his everlasting glory. Adams either got them acquitted or else (in the two cases where it was clear they had fired point blank into the crowd) lower sentences. Eleven years later, in 1781, at Yorktown, the British surrendered and so lost their last opportunity to keep their American empire whole and intact. As the troops under Lord Cornwallis marched out, the American musicians played "The World Turned Upside Down". And so it was… And it all started in , with what the British called a "riot" and the colonials a "massacre". Yes, that was the event that started it all. And at last local officials, including the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority, are cleaning up and rehabilitating this historic site where colonials, in Massachusetts are least, stopped thinking they were anything other than Americans ,thereby ensuring the king never did get back his own… About the Author -educated Dr. Jeffrey Lant is CEO of Worldprofit, Inc., providing a of online services for small and-home based businesses.Dr. lant is also a of 18 best-selling business books. Republished with author's permission by Dan L Orr Check out Massive Auto Traffic