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Battlefields and Blessings
Reading Guide

Welcome to Weeks 7 and 8 of our Battlefields and Blessings Reading Guide from our American History Book Club. Battlefields and Blessings, Stories of Faith and Courage from the Revolutionary War is a daily devotional by Jane Hampton Cook that brings the American Revolution to life through the viewpoints of the Revolution's key players - George Washington, King George III, Samuel Adams, John Adams, Thomas Jefferson, Abigail Adams, Martha Washington, Nathanael Greene, Henry Knox and Benjamin Franklin.

Battlefields and Blessings by Jane Hampton Cook

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On this page you will find our reading notes for Weeks 7 and 8 of the book, including a short synopsis of the chapter, interesting parts that we would like to point out, discussion questions to provide food for thought and some quotes that highlight the main points of the chapters.

Week 7 contains the infamous Boston Massacre. British soldiers fire on civilians who are taunting them. The citizens rise up in mass and demand that the soldiers leave the city. Governor Hutchinson sends the soldiers to Castle William in the harbor and John Adams represents the accused soldiers in court.

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In Week 8, we see the Boston Tea Party. Colonists are outraged when England decides to leave a small tax on tea, giving the British East India Company an advantage over other colonial suppliers. In response, colonists throw the tea from several ships into the harbor. Parliament responds by passing the Coercive Acts, which greatly restrict civil liberties in Massachusetts and set the stage for the violence to come.

If you decide to read along with us, please let our group know who you are in the comments as well! And if you do leave a comment about the reading, be sure to tell us which chapter you are referring to!

This page has our reading guides for Weeks 7 and 8 of the book. You can start at the beginning of the book by going to Battlefields and Blessings Reading Guide. Links to the other chapters can be found at the bottom of the page.

If you have not yet ordered your copy of Battlefields and Blessings, you can order your copy from Amazon here. Click here if you are interested in ordering the Kindle edition. If you aren't too familiar with ebook readers, click here and we'll explain a little more about them to you.

Find out about our other current book discussions at our American History Book Club page.

Stories of Faith and Courage from the Revolutionary War
Reading Guide

Stories of Faith and Courage from the Revolutionary War
by Jane Hampton Cook

Week 7

Synopsis

  • Reverend Jonathan Mayhew regrets the stridency of his earlier sermon against the Stamp Act.
  • James Otis begins to lose his mental sanity.
  • The Boston Massacre takes place when several British soldiers fire on civilians during an altercation.
  • The citizens of Boston petition Lt. Gov. Hutchinson to have the soldiers removed from town. The soldiers are removed to Castle William in the harbor.
  • John Adams represents the accused soldiers at trial.
  • How sensationalism can cloud our judgment.

Discussion Questions

  • Reverend Mayhew regretted that he called for people to "cut off" those who were in favor of the Stamp Act after he found out his sermon may have inspired some of the rioters who destroyed Chief Justice Hutchinson's home. Can you think of a time when you or someone you know overreacted to a situation that you regretted later?
  • What could the colonists or Lt. Gov. Hutchinson have done to prevent an incident such as the Boston Massacre from happening?
  • If you were in John Adams' shoes, would you have represented the soldiers accused of committing murder at the Boston Massacre? Why or why not?

Things That Caught Our Eye

  • Hutchinson's private letters that reveal his belief that the government had the right to curtail the citizens' rights, while he was publicly agreeing with the colonists, provide a great example of why we should judge politicians by what they do and not by what they say.
  • It's a wonder that the Boston Massacre did not result in more violence from the colonists against British officials.
  • John Adams representing the accused perpetrators of the Boston Massacre might seem contradictory at first glance, but he was defending the greater principle that all people deserve a fair trial.

Quotes

  • "Otis' power was so magnetic that a Boston town meeting, upon his mere entering, would break out into shouts and clapping."
  • "There must be an abridgement of what are called English liberties... there must be a great restraint of natural liberty, he wrote, expressing his belief that government must limit liberty."
  • "On Monday Evening the 5th current a few Minutes after 9 O'Clock a most horrid murder was committed in King Street before the Customhouse Door by 8 or 9 Soldiers under the Command of Capt Tho Preston." - John Tudor

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Thanks for reading Stories of Faith and Courage from the Revolutionary War with us. If you have not yet ordered the book, you can order one from Amazon here - Stories of Faith and Courage from the Revolutionary War

Stories of Faith and Courage from the Revolutionary War
by Jane Hampton Cook

Week 8

Synopsis

  • Reverend Samuel Cooke speaks to Hutchinson and other magistrates about the responsibilities of government officials.
  • Parliament repeals the Townshend Acts, but leaves in place the tax on tea.
  • The Boston Tea Party takes place when angry colonists dump the taxed tea overboard from several ships in the harbor.
  • In response to the Boston Tea Party, Parliament enacts the Coercive Acts which block the port at Boston, abolish town meetings in Massachusetts, send thousands of troops to Boston and revoke Massachusetts' royal charter.
  • General Thomas Gage is appointed the new governor of Massachusetts. He is also the commander-in-chief of the British army in North America.
  • Daniel Boone takes his first trip to the west.
  • The heroics of an African-American family end the conflict with the Indians in Kentucky.
  • The pen is revealed as the most important weapon of the American Revolution.

Discussion Questions

  • The throwing of the tea into the harbor was clearly against the law. Is breaking the law a justifiable method to protest an unjust law? Why or why not?
  • Parliament came down very hard on Massachusetts after the Boston Tea Party. What would have been the best response by Parliament that could have reduced or prevented the tensions?
  • What is it inside of mankind, such as happened with Daniel Boone and his settlers, that causes him to look for a new place to explore and settle unknown territory?

Things That Caught Our Eye

  • It's interesting that Reverend Cooke approached the officials from the angle of the responsibilities of lawmakers, rather than just chastising them for their wrongdoing.
  • It's amazing that the identities of the participants in the Boston Tea Party remained a secret. Even today we don't know who the organizers and participants were.
  • Isn't it interesting that an African-American family was instrumental in bringing peace between the settlers and the Indians in Kentucky?

Quotes

  • "Then he heard a rumor. Some men were planning to dump the ships' tea into the harbor. He had to see it for himself."
  • "The Acts closed Boston's port, revoked the eighty-year-old Massachusetts royal charter, and sent three thousand British soldiers to Massachusetts. Worse, the acts quartered those soldiers in the homes of private citizens. And, worst of all, the legislation abolished town meetings. No longer could the people legally assemble. Gone was a fundamental right."
  • "The most flamboyant weapon in America's quest for independence was not a bayonet, musket, or cannon. It was a pen."

Comment on this chapter

Battlefields and Blessings Reading Guide Chapters

Weeks 1 and 2 Weeks 3 and 4 Weeks 5 and 6
Weeks 7 and 8

Thanks for reading Stories of Faith and Courage from the Revolutionary War with us. If you have not yet ordered the book, you can order one from Amazon here - Stories of Faith and Courage from the Revolutionary War


Last Updated 5/24/12

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