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The Coming of the American Revolution: 1764 to 1776

× The Sugar Act The Stamp Act The Formation of the Sons of Liberty The Townshend Acts Non-consumption and Non-importation The Boston Massacre The Formation of the Committees of Correspondence The Boston Tea Party The Coercive Acts The First Continental Congress Lexington and Concord The Second Continental Congress The Battle of Bunker Hill Washington Takes Command of the Continental Army Declarations of Independence

John Adams autobiography, part 1, "John Adams," through 1776, sheet 12 of 53, 1768-1770

From the Adams Family Papers
The transcription of this section of Adams's autobiography is featured on the Adams Family Papers: An Electronic Archive website.
Online display of the autobiography.

Justice Prevailed
Reflecting upon events some thirty years later, John Adams offers an interesting perspective on the "horrid massacre." His sentimental, if not completely accurate, recollection of his participation in the trials reveals a great deal about his own sense of justice. Adams never wavered in his belief that he did the right thing by defending the soldiers, although, as he explains in his autobiography, many Bostonians thought differently

Questions to Consider

1. How does John Adams describe the night of 5 March 1770?

2. In Adams' opinion, who or what is responsible for the Boston Massacre? Why did it happen?

3. Adams' account was written a number of years after the Boston Massacre took place. How might the passage of time have affected his memory of events?

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