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"Instructions to the Representatives ..."

Instructions to the Representatives ...

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"The Path of Your Duty"
In response to the Massachusetts General Court's resolution, towns all across the colony begin to draft instructions to their representatives in the Continental Congress, either for or against independence. The towns take time to deliberate and discuss, because they understand the gravity of this process. Once each town reaches consensus, local newspapers publish these instructions across Massachusetts and beyond.

To examine all four pages of this newspaper, please see the online display of the The Boston-Gazette, and Country Journal, 10 June 1776.

Questions to Consider

1. What are the residents of Boston instructing their representatives to do?

2. Look at the final two paragraphs of this letter. What is being delineated here? Where does this insistence originate?

3. The writer(s) of this letter have used several literary devices to make their points. Choose one example and explain why you think it is or is not effective.

Further Exploration

4. How do members of the public attempt to influence the political process now? How would you make your voice heard on a topic that was important to you?

5. What issues in current events are important to you? Pick one and write a letter to your local, state, or federal representatives.

6. Other towns in Massachusetts also wrote to their representatives. Read the declarations prepared by the towns of Malden, Palmer, and Barnstable on the American Archives website. [Click here to visit the American Archives website.] How do these instructions compare with Boston's?