Skip to Main Content

Justice: John Quincy Adams and The Amistad

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

  • What was John Quincy Adams’ role in The Amistad case? Did this case alter or strengthen his identity? How so?
  • What was Adams’ purpose as the attorney for the Africans?
  • What does the purpose of Adams’ role in the case say about his identity?

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 evaluate John Quincy Adams’ role in The Amistad case.
  • Students will understand the importance of protecting justice to advance freedom.
  • Students will determine ways in which to safeguard justice in their own lives.

Student Handouts