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Teacher's Guide: Hints for the Active Learning Questions


  1. You may want to include other Founders, such as James Madison or Alexander Hamilton, in your contest. The questions should deal with major events rather than obscure or trivial details. At the same time, though, try not to make them too easy.

  2. You might want to remind students that the dialogues should reflect the views and personalities of Adams and Jefferson, not the students themselves.


  1. Students may want to research the USA Patriot Act, the law enacted shortly after the September 11 terrorist attacks that expanded government powers related to fighting terrorism. (The first three of the bulleted items are parts of that Act.) Two contrasting views of the USA Patriot Act can be found at the websites of the White House and the American Civil Liberties Union.

  2. Sample passages: "A Declaration of these Rights will have no more Influence than the 10 Commandments, without Laws executed"; "a single assembly, possessed of all the powers of government, would make arbitrary laws for their own interest, execute all laws arbitrarily for their own interest, and adjudge all controversies in their own favor."


  1. Students may want to look at recent books such as Leadership Secrets from Attila the Hun, Machiavelli on Modern Leadership, and Sun Tzu and the Art of Business for ideas on how to use historical figures as the basis for an advice book.

  2. Students might want to include the following people (among others) in their timeline: the composers Mozart and Beethoven, the writers Voltaire and Jane Austen, the artists Francisco de Goya and Jacques-Louis David, the inventors James Watt and Eli Whitney, the explorer James Cook, the economist Adam Smith, and the French leader Napoleon.


  1. Students who recall the 2004 presidential campaign may want to have the class discuss negative statements that emerged during that campaign.

  2. Students may want to look at John F. Kennedy's book Profiles in Courage, which describes several examples of courageous decisions by American leaders (including John Adams's son, John Quincy Adams).

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John & Abigail Adams American Experience

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