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Boston Tea Party Critical Thinking Questions

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    Access the Week Four Electronic Reserve Readings located under the materials section of your student website. Read, watch, and listen to the media presented on the Boston Tea Party. Write a paragraph of approximately 100 words for each section listed below. Using the critical thinking skills you have gained so far and referring to the materials provided for this assignment, identify two possible strategies that Thomas Hutchinson or Samuel Adams likely used to develop and improve their thinking as those historical events unfolded prior to taking a stand and acting according to their beliefs.

    I believe that Samuel Adams and Thomas Hutchinson both used the idea of broadening their perspective. They both looked beyond that which was happening in their own life and in their own back yard and they looked to procure a betterment for all of the colonists. I also believed that they were individuals. They didn’t conform to the ideas or notions of men before them. They set out to satisfy their own curiosities in life and to stand out from the rest of the crowd. They weren’t satisfied in being like everyone else.

    I believe that they were able to look at themselves honestly and objectively, which is the key to becoming an individual. This isn’t to say that they weren’t shaped and formed by other people’s ideas and attitudes. Every human is to some degree. But they were both able to take bits and pieces of everything they had been born into and form their own ideas and opinions. Explain the importance of building a foundation for critical and creative thinking when evaluating historical events such as the Boston Tea Party.

    The Boston Tea Party can be looked at in two different ways. It can either be viewed as a rebellious moment amongst rebel rousers out to take a stand against England or it can be viewed as a group of individuals who were passionate about declaring their rights as individuals who went to a new land to free themselves of the British rule. It’s important to lay a foundation of critical thinking and to know the whole story. There was so much more to the Boston Tea Party than just dumping tea into the harbor.

    There were more people involved than just those in Boston and the British. One must know all of the facts and know all of the events that led up to the Boston Tea Party as well as what happened afterward in order to make judgement. Explain the basis of the moral judgments made by Samuel Adams and Thomas Hutchinson. Samuel Adams and Thomas Hutchinson both based their moral judgements on the idea that the people in the colonies had the right to exist free of British rule. Britain wasn’t abiding by former agreements and was therefore showing little moral value or honesty.

    Britain was out to take care of themselves and to keep those in the colonies under their thumb of judgement. Adams and Hutchinson saw themselves as having an obligation to speak up for the colonists and take a stand against Britain by whatever means necessary. While they were certainly guilty of stirring up mayhem and causing rebellion in Boston, they did it in the ultimate name of freedom for all of the colonists. There are times when you have to make a moral judgement that may have consequences, but ultimately, the end result will be what is most necessary.

    What steps do you believe Samuel Adams and Thomas Hutchinson took toward becoming individuals and which steps ultimately made them such important historical figures? Both Samuel Adams and Thomas Hutchinson were born into very political families. I believe that they had to look within themselves to find what it was they stood for. It would have been easy to just continue on along with the ideas and notions of their fathers and grandfathers before them. It would have been simple to just live life by the idea of “this is how it’s always been and this is how it will always be”.

    Neither man was content with this idea though. While they both had very different roles in The Boston Tea Party and the subsequent American Revolution, they both were intent upon seeking out knowledge feed their curiosity. They became informed and from their, they based opinions that would ultimately change the history of America forever. In this class, we have discussed common habits that hinder critical thinking. Which of these habits may have been a factor in how Samuel Adams and Thomas Hutchinson viewed the issues that led to the Boston Tea Party? How could they have overcome those habits?

    I believe that the habit of face saving may have been a contributing factor in how Samuel Adams and Thomas Hutchinson viewed the issues that led to the Boston Tea Party. They both made errors in judgement throughout the time leading up to the Boston Tea Party. However, it was easier for them to place the blame on other issues or individuals than to admit errors in judgement and change their stance on particular subjects. I also believe that they were a bit guilty of stereotyping. Both Adams and Hutchinson were from very prominent families with strong political ties and backgrounds.

    In dealing with the various merchants that dealt in British goods, I feel as though they could basically tell them what to think and how to feel because of their superiority in education and most colonists had no formal education or political ties. What is one important distinction you could not overlook making when critically evaluating the information provided in these materials about the Boston Tea Party? Clarify the importance of that distinction. When evaluating the information about the Boston Tea Party, I had a difficult time separating the idea from the person.

    When it came to Thomas Hutchinson, I felt as though he was definitely playing both sides of the field. He was doing everything in the name of liberty for the colonists. At the same time, however, he was making agreements with Britain and still fulfilling his role as Governor. By supporting the Stamp Act based on its legality (and not morality) he became very unpopular with the colonists and ultimately had his home ransacked and burned by an angry mob. Thomas Hutchinson was eventually exiled to England where he lived out the remainder of his life.

    I know that he had ideas that he tried to promote for the betterment of the colonies however I feel that his lack of judgement made it difficult to separate the man from the idea. What strategies of critical reading, listening, and viewing did you utilize when evaluating the provided materials? In evaluating the provided materials, I utilized the strategies of separating the idea from the person as well as dealing with the moral issues related to the Boston Tea Party. I tried to garner all of the facts regarding this event and come to a conclusion and an informed opinion based on the truths of what actually happened.

    I had to look at the moral issues and basically determine the lesser of two evils. While Hutchinson made some very bad errors in judgement in his role in the Boston Tea Party, I feel that ultimately, he was trying to look out for the best interest of the colonists. I simply feel that he was playing both sides a little too much and this led to his eventual exile to England. Considering what you have learned about the Boston Tea Party, Samuel Adams, and Thomas Hutchinson, apply your creativity to describe what could have been done proactively to avoid the incident.

    Samuel Adams and Thomas Hutchinson were both very passionate men. The had strong beliefs and they were determined to not let anything deter them from accomplishing that which they set out to do. I do feel that both men might have done a bit more to keep things on a level that was free of violence and less volatile. Both men were proactive in events that led to the Boston Massacre. I believe that if they would have made a more concerted effort to have peaceful discussions with the British, that certain events may have been avoided, namely The Boston Tea Party and The Boston Massacre.

    What techniques could you use to regain a level of curiosity about history or other subjects you learned previously in school? I think the most important thing I could do is to be able to consistently make the distinction between fact and interpretation. History is based upon facts. However, within all of those facts are varying interpretations of what really happened. I have always studied about The Boston Tea Party, but it’s only with critical thinking, that I can see history from a different viewpoint and completely different angles.

    In reading about various historical events, it’s important that I make certain that what I’m reading is factual and not just an author’s interpretation of what happened. Explain at least two key elements for producing ideas that you believe led the American colonists to the Boston Tea Party and the eventual American Revolution. The first key element that I believe led the American colonists to the Boston Tea Party and the American Revolution was the element of “stimulating your imagination”. The colonists could see and imagine life beyond British rule.

    They could imagine liberty and the ability to pursue happiness and to live life as they saw fit without being told what they could and couldn’t do. I also believe that the colonists were able to visualize the solution. They were able to look within their mind’s eye and see what needed to be done in order to ascertain their freedom from British rule and government. Often times, it’s necessary to look beyond the present and try to catch a glimpse of the future in order to make the proper choices. We have to visualize all of the components of a situation and work the solution out in our mind before we’re ever able to accomplish it in real time.

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