Teachers may use this chapter from The Remarkable Cause: A Novel of James Lovell and the Crucible of the Revolution as a short story for grades 7 – 12., to explore themes of interpersonal conflict, conflict resolution, and the value of law.

The chapter “Boston Discusses the Massacre” is taken from The Remarkable Cause: A Novel of James Lovell and the Crucible of the Revolution (Knox Press, 2020), and used with permission. James Lovell, teacher at the Boston Latin School, discusses the pivotal events of March 5, 1770. As the conflicts that become the American Revolution begin a group of soldiers posted in Boston fired on townspeople in a crowd, killing five. Those in the crowd had heckled the soldiers, who were there to support unpopular taxes imposed by the British. Despite the general animosity of those in Boston towards the regiments quartered among the citizens of the town, townspeople decided the law would be upheld and the soldiers put to a trial to determine their guilt or innocence. In this chapter James discusses with his students the publication of The Short Narrative of the Horrid Massacre, which was the collection of depositions of witnesses to the conflict. Questions of law, witness reliability, and pre-meditation form part of the discussion. It is clear from the reading that James is a patriot, but his father, Master John Lovell, with whom he teaches, is a Tory.

The reading includes background and context information, vocabulary words, an afterword explaining what happens to James Lovell, some questions, three paragraph writing prompts varied in modes, sources, and standards aligned. Besides questions of law, the reading touches on verbal exchanges with someone with whom one disagrees; questions prompt students to consider how to deescalate conflict in cases when argument seems the only course.