Which American patriot defended the British soldiers at the trial of the Boston Massacre?
Answer: In 1770, John Adams agreed to represent the British soldiers on trial for killing five civilians in what became known as the Boston Massacre. Although he was a patriot, Adams believed that every person deserved a defense, and took the case without hesitation. During the trial Adams argued that the soldiers had the right to defend themselves and showed that they thought their lives were in danger from the mob that had gathered. The jury acquitted six of the eight soldiers, while two were convicted of manslaughter.
John Adams (October 30 [O.S. October 19] 1735 – July 4, 1826) was an American patriot who served as the second President of the United States (1797–1801) and the first Vice President (1789–97). He was a lawyer, diplomat, statesman, political theorist, and, as a Founding Father, a leader of the movement for American independence from Great Britain. He was also a dedicated diarist and correspondent, particularly with his wife and closest advisor Abigail.
He collaborated with his cousin, revolutionary leader Samuel Adams, but he established his own prominence prior to the American Revolution. After the Boston Massacre, he provided a successful (though unpopular) legal defense of the accused British soldiers, in the face of severe local anti-British sentiment and driven by his devotion to the right to counsel and the “protect[ion] of innocence”.