Lesson 10: Presidential Politics

Getting Started

In this lesson, you'll learn about Abigail Adams's personal life as her younger children began to marry and she addressed the problems that her family members experienced, all of which happened against a backdrop of presidential politics and revolution in France. You'll embark on a scavenger hunt to help solidify the grammar concepts you've studied so far in this unit, and you'll also explore the two political parties that were emerging as Abigail's husband, John, ran for president.

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?

Things to Know

  • The Federalists and Republicans offered dramatically different visions for American government in the 1790s.


  • By the end of the year, read and comprehend literature, including stories, dramas, and poems, at the high end of grades 6-8 text complexity band independently and proficiently. (LA)
  • Acquire and use accurately grade-appropriate general, academic, and domain-specific words and phrases; gather vocabulary knowledge when considering a word or phrase important to comprehension or expression. (LA)

Introducing the Lesson

In this lesson, your child will complete a grammatical scavenger hunt to help solidify the grammar concepts she's studied in this unit, and she will also compare and contrast the Federalists and the Republicans, two emerging political parties in America's early years.
Reading and Questions
Materials: Abigail Adams: Witness to a Revolution by Natalie S. Bober
Read Chapters 19 and 20 of Abigail Adams: Witness to a Revolution by Natalie S. Bober, and then answer these questions.
  1. What did John Adams think about the French Revolution? How about Abigail?
    He feared that the quest for equality would lead to mass violence. Abigail feared that the revolutionary leaders in France might abolish Christianity, and she wondered how the French example might influence American society.
  2. To what role was John Quincy Adams appointed by President Washington?
    Minister to the Netherlands.
  3. Why could John not return to practicing law if he were not elected president?
    He suffered from palsy, which made his hands shake and made it hard to write; he also was losing teeth, which might be a hindrance when giving speeches before a jury or judge. In addition, he had been away from law practice for over two decades and may have found it hard to re-enter that profession after so long an absence.
  4. What did Abigail Adams do during her leisure time as First Lady?
    Her only leisure time was from 5 AM to 8 AM, and she passed it in prayer, reading, writing letters, or enjoying the sunrise and the quiet of the house before the beginning of another busy day.