The Correspondence of John Adams &
John Quincy Adams, 1774–1793
You can learn a lot about the education of a statesman as you read the educational advice in the letters exchanged
between John Adams and his son John
Quincy Adams as John Q. grew from
boyhood into manhood. You may also
find reassurance in the occasional instances of wobbly writing or creative
“What is an American?” from Letters
from an American Farmer by J. Hector St.
John de Crèvecoeur
J. Hector St. John de Crèvecoeur was a
surveyor, trader, and farmer who wrote
about life in America using the persona
of a fictional narrator writing to an Eng-
lish friend. This creative bit of nonfiction
is considered one of the first examples of
Pamphlets were one of the most popular conveyors of ideas during the American Revolution. These small booklets
helped advance arguments and forge
bonds of unity during the revolutionary period. Two pamphlets that capture
some of the ideas of the time are
Common Sense by Thomas Paine and
Observations on the new Constitution, and
on the Federal and State Conventions by
Mercy Otis Warren.
Anne Bradstreet was one of the earliest
American poets, and her work reflects
the reality of her life as wife, mother,
writer, Christian, and thinker. Here are
four very different poems you may enjoy: To My Dear and Loving Husband,
The Author to Her Book, A Dialogue between Old England and New, and Verses
upon the Burning of Our House, July 18th,
How to Learn Like a Founding
1. Keep a commonplace book
PS Sir if you will be So good as to favour
[provide] me with a Blank book I will
transcribe the most remarkable occurren-
ces I meet with in my reading which will
Serve to fix them upon my mind . . .
John Quincy Adams, age 9,
in a letter to his father, John Adams
Commonplace books have been used
since the fifteenth century, and by the
seventeenth century, students in col-
leges were being taught formal systems
• George Washington
• Benjamin Franklin
• John Adams (and family)
• Thomas Jefferson
• Alexander Hamilton
• James Madison
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You may also find reassurance in the occasional
instances of wobbly writing or creative spelling!