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John Adams had an insatiable desire to explore human nature. In defending the British...

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emmaleebearcat | eNotes Newbie

Posted July 6, 2013 at 3:18 PM via web

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John Adams had an insatiable desire to explore human nature. In defending the British soldiers involved in The Boston Massacre, Adams says to the jury, "Facts are stubborn things, and whatever may be our wishes, our inclinations, or the dictums of our passions, they cannot alter the state of facts and evidence." How has his decision to defend the British Army, even under suspicion of political treason, prepared him to draft a strong argument for independence?

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Ashley Kannan | Middle School Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

Posted July 7, 2013 at 3:25 AM (Answer #1)

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Adams' decision to defend the British soldiers accused of atrocities committed at the Boston Massacre makes him the perfect spokesperson for drafting a strong argument for independence.  Initially, his decision to defend the soldiers shows Adams' penchant for the law and rational thought.  In this, his position in advocating the cause of Colonial independence from Britain is not an example of rabble rousing rhetoric.  Rather, it comes from a source steeped in rational thought and dedicated to the pursuit of the truth. Adams' ability to advocate the cause of colonial independence is enhanced by his decision to defend the British soldiers because it shows him as a believer in human rights.  Thus, the Colonial struggle for independence can be seen as a human struggle for rights, as opposed to being seen in a purely political context.  Finally, I think that Adams' being able to defend the British soldiers shows him to being committed for the cause of justice for all people.  If he is able to advocate for British soldiers, it shows him as a fair minded Colonist who is in the perfect position to lead, establishing credibility for his positions carved out of "evidence" and not out of the "dictums of our passions."  While Adams might not have won much in way of Colonial favor for his position, it enabled him to establish himself as the type of statesman that one would want in the position of leadership in the cause for Colonial freedom.

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