Questions about Content:

1. What did John Adams find to be particularly difficult about life at sea?

2. What were John Adams's feelings about bringing his son along on his first Atlantic crossing?

3. In his twenty-five years of hazardous travels, what did John Adams consider to be his greatest hardship? Why?

Questions for Drawing Historical Connections:

4. Why was France regarded as a natural ally in the American struggle against Great Britain?

5. A decade after the letters and diary entries in this section were written, French life would be turned upside down by a remarkable series of events. What is the name of this historic period? How was it inspired by the American Revolution?

Questions for Thought, Discussion, and Writing:

6. The journeys experienced by John Adams's sons offer them unique opportunities but also expose them to extreme dangers. Did John Adams make the right decision in taking them along? Charles Adams was only nine years old when he sailed in 1779. Was he too young?

7. How do JQA's and his father's descriptions of their perilous journeys vary? What could account for their differing perspectives?

8. All European emigrants settling in North America, even the very young, had to endure an Atlantic crossing. What type of person would leave home and undertake such a dangerous journey? How did these people shape the American character?