Division 2 Humanities visits the John Adams National Park

This fall, Division 2 Humanities students have been looking at Colonial America and asking what gave rise to the Revolution. In search of answers beyond the traditional narrative of discontent with Britain, students studied life not only for the privileged colonists, but also for African-Americans, women, immigrants, indentured servants, and Native Americans. We asked: "What was changing socially that caused so much strife as to spur a change in governance?"

As a part of this inquiry, students travelled to the John Adams National Park. There, students saw all three Adams family properties and paid close attention to how day-to-day life was lived. In her written reflection, Ally recorded how the challenges of colonial life spurred inventions like the curfew, “a metal cover of sorts that you put over the hot coals at night so that they are usable once again in the morning.” In our age of rapid-fire texts and updates, students particularly noticed the length to which colonists had to go to communicate. As Aneli wrote, people in the 1700s had to operate as "walking telephones" -- no small feat when you're trying to start an intercontinental revolution.