Why is John Adams Standing on Thomas Jefferson's Foot?

Was it a bromance, or were they frenemies? Young historians use a controversial portrait and letters between Thomas Jefferson, John Adams, and others to evaluate the relationship between the two Founding Fathers. Examining the primary sources, they unravel a relationship that was sometimes hot and sometimes cold. 

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CCSS: Adaptable
Instructional Ideas
  • Use the included essay prompt to stimulate a debate
  • Offer the activity as an introduction to a unit on the debates over the Constitution
Classroom Considerations
  • Class needs access to an image of a painting
Pros
  • Subject matter of friendship is easily relatable
  • Lesson includes art and written primary sources
Cons
  • None