University of Florida Boston Kings Relationship with British Officers Questions
The questions below draw on the Boston King memoir and the George Washington letter assigned this week.
Instructions: Answer 1 of the questions below in about 250 words by Thursday, 5pm. Comment on the posts of at least 2 other students by Friday, 5pm (your comments only need to be a few sentences, and show an engagement with their ideas).
1) Pick one short quote from Washington’s letter to Sullivan. What assumptions does Washington seem to hold about the Native Americans the army will encounter? What does it suggest about the Continental army’s approach to warfare against Native Americans?
2) How would you describe Boston King’s relationship to British officers/soldiers? Are they comrades? Partners in a transaction? Something else? Reference a specific example to show why.
Reading: Boston King, Memoirs of the Life of Boston King (Excerpts, 1798); George Washington to John Sullivan (1779); Smith, Freedoms We Lost, pgs. 95-133.
1) Make sure you are connecting argument to evidence. Some folks raised really interesting points but did not link them to specific examples to prove it. You want to show rather than assert. Other folks provided an abundance of evidence, but did not analyze it as deeply as they could have. It is better to dive deeply into even just one example rather than move rapid-fire through several.
2) Be sure to define and/or contextualize your terms. For example, many students summarized Adams’ letter as a call for women’s rights. But the kinds of rights – and the kinds of women – Adams was thinking of were historically specific. She demanded greater legal independence for married women. That’s different from calling for women to have the vote, and different from calling for the rights of women who did not have legal marriages at all (enslaved women). These distinctions matter, because it helps us understand her politics on *her* terms.
3) Stay historical. I encourage connections to the present, but the best way to do that is to first grapple with the document’s specific 18th century context. From there, you can analyze specific resonances with our own moment in a nuanced way.