Lesson 3: Unrest and War

Getting Started

In your reading for this lesson, you'll learn more about the early career of John Adams, Abigail's role as a mother, and the growing unrest in the colonies that would soon lead to revolution. You'll also have the opportunity to work with verbs in creative ways, focusing on active and passive voice.

Stuff You Need

  • Abigail Adams: Witness to a Revolution by Natalie S. Bober

Ideas to Think About

  • How do the lives of individuals interact with, influence, and become transformed by the events of the time and place in which they live?
  • How can the use of different verbs and verb forms influence the power and clarity of one's writing?

Things to Know

  • In a sentence written in active voice, the subject of the sentence is performing the action described by the verb.
  • In a sentence written in passive voice, the action of the verb happens to the subject of the sentence, but the subject of the sentence does not perform the action.


  • Use verbs in the active and passive voice and in the conditional and subjunctive mood to achieve particular effects (e.g., emphasizing the actor or the action; expressing uncertainty or describing a state contrary to fact). (LA)
  • Use subject-verb agreement and verb tense that are appropriate for the meaning of the sentence. (LA)

Introducing the Lesson

In this lesson, your child will learn more about the early parenting activities of John and Abigail Adams as John's career moved forward and the colonies moved toward revolution. Your child will focus on verbs in this lesson, exploring active and passive voice.
Reading and Questions
Materials: Abigail Adams: Witness to a Revolution by Natalie S. Bober
Read Chapters 5 and 6 of Abigail Adams: Witness to a Revolution by Natalie S. Bober and then answer these questions.
  1. How did James Fordyce think that children were like plants?
    In his view, children needed to be cultivated like plants and would thrive or fail depending upon the care given to them.
  2. What were the Townsend Acts and how did colonists react to them?
    The Townsend Acts imposed a tax on goods coming from England including "lead, glass, paper, paints, and tea" (p. 36) without the consent of colonists. Many colonists responded to these taxes by boycotting all English goods.
  3. How did the British government respond to the Boston Tea Party?
    The British government closed Boston Harbor to trade, sent in a military governor, and sent troops to be stationed in Boston.
  4. Why do you think Abigail Adams and Mercy Otis Warren were such good friends?
    Answers will vary, but your child may mention their shared ideas about women's roles, their similar interests and daily concerns (childrearing, politics, their husbands' careers, fashion), or the connection they may each have felt to another highly intelligent woman.