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John Adams and the Boston Massacre Trial

45 min

Walk-In-The-Shoes Questions
As you read, imagine you are the protagonist.

  • What challenges are you facing?
  • What fears or concerns might you have?
  • What may prevent you from acting in the way you ought?

Observation Questions

  • Who was John Adams? What was his role in the trial of the British soldiers?
  • What was his purpose in defending the soldiers? How did his purpose relate to the virtue of justice?
  • What character traits did John Adams demonstrate in his role as defender of the British soldiers?

Discussion Questions
Discuss the following questions with your students.

  • What is the historical context of the narrative?
  • What historical circumstances presented a challenge to the protagonist?
  • How and why did the individual exhibit a moral and/or civic virtue in facing and overcoming the challenge?
  • How did the exercise of the virtue benefit civil society?
  • How might exercise of the virtue benefit the protagonist?
  • What might the exercise of the virtue cost the protagonist?
  • Would you react the same under similar circumstances? Why or why not?
  • How can you act similarly in your own life? What obstacles must you overcome in order to do so?
  • Students will examine John Adams’ defense of the soldiers in the Boston Massacre trial and how Adams acted justly.
  • Students will develop ways in which they can act with justice in their own lives.

Student Handouts