Questions about Content:

1. According to John Adams, what historical topic will be of most interest to John Quincy? Why is John certain about his opinion?

2. What practical purpose does John Adams see in the study of history?

Questions for Drawing Historical Connections:

3. What is the period in English history from James I to William III known for? Why did both John and John Quincy recognize that this history was crucial to understanding America in the 1770s?

Questions for Thought, Discussion, and Writing:

4. In one letter, referring to a book by Cardinal Bentivoglio, John Adams lists twenty-four individuals who have had a significant impact on their times. What names would you include on your own list?

5. JQA's father advises him to read with "Impartiality" and also asks that his son extend this impartiality when he hears stories about his own father. From 1770 to1800, John Adams takes unpopular stands on many issues as he plays a key role in the public life of the United States. He is the subject of a great deal of strong criticism from the press, much of it blatantly false. What pressures does this put on the son or daughter of a public figure? What other advice can you offer for dealing with this type of pressure?

6. John Adams realizes that his letters will be difficult for his ten-year-old son to understand. Why does he write them anyway?