The Adams Family of Massachusetts: A Legacy of Justice in Action

Developed by Kris Allison, Boston Public Schools

This curriculum unit helps middle-school students learn to use primary sources as they unravel the events leading up to the Boston Massacre, and discover John Adams’s philosophy of justice. The unit also explores the life of John Quincy Adams and his work against slavery, including the Amistad Affair. Students will read original letters, diary entries, eye-witness accounts and other primary sources to understand how John Adams and John Quincy Adams worked to bring about justice during their lives, and attempted to pass on their philosophies to their children. The unit contains ten lessons, including homework assignments, group exercises, and a final project.

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