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Coming of the American Revolution: Document Viewer
Massachusetts Historical Society
America's oldest historical society, founded 1791.

Back to The Battle of Bunker Hill

Letter (draft) from John Quincy Adams to Joseph Sturge, March 1846

Letter (draft) from John Quincy Adams to Joseph Sturge, March 1846

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"unintermitted danger"
In 1846, John Quincy Adams writes this letter to an English philanthropist and abolitionist who had visited the United States five years earlier. In it, on pages 3 and 4, he recalls his family's experiences back in 1775 -- when he was eight years old.

Questions to Consider

1. How long after the events being described was this account written?

2. According to JQA, why was the Boston area such a dangerous place to be?

Further Exploration

3. How does JQA's account differ from the one written by his mother the day after the battle? Click here to read Abigail's account.

4. What might account for the differences in the two descriptions of Bunker Hill?

5. What does this letter tell us about the way JQA remembered the dramatic events of his childhood?

6. What does it tell us about his views of motherhood? How does the image of his mother compare with the image of Abigail that comes from her own account?

7. What are some of the things that we need to be aware of when looking at reminiscences such as this?