John Adams’s Views on Citizenship: Lessons for Contemporary America

Developed by Todd Wallingford, Hudson High School, Hudson, Mass.

This curriculum unit engages students in an exploration of John Adams’s thinking about the rights and responsibilities of citizens in a republic. Each lesson is divided into three sections. “Documents” contains a set of primary sources culled from John Adams’s letters, diaries and essays, followed by questions and activities that help students draw conclusions about the issues and Adams’s views. “Contemporary issues” contains links to news stories, editorials and other documents that help students to consider how Adams might have viewed contemporary issues that resonate with concepts that the documents raise. Finally, service-learning extensions suggests ideas for activities in which students, like Adams, may choose to make a difference.

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