Adams Family Foreign Policy: Letters and Diaries from Europe

Developed by Jason L. S. Raia, Pope John XXIII High School, Everett, Mass.

This curriculum unit helps to provide high school students with insight into the Adams family members and their combined efforts in the realm of American foreign policy between 1781 and 1863. This collection of primary source materials, culled from the Adams Family Papers, is divided into lessons that cover four major periods and events of early American history: John Adams in the Netherlands during the American Revolution; Abigail Adams and her daughter Abigail Adams 2nd in London during the Confederation period; John Quincy Adams in Ghent negotiating the end of the War of 1812; and Charles Francis Adams and his son Henry in London during the American Civil War. The project includes transcribed excerpts from more than 115 primary source documents. Each document is accompanied by a series of questions for review and critical thinking. To facilitate students’ online journaling, blog prompts are periodically provided within the lessons.

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