The Life and Times of Isaiah Thomas

The Life and Times of Isaiah Thomas


Level:  Moderate: Day 1 – Introduction

Time:  40 minutes

          Old “No. 1” 
          The Lawyer’s Pedigree
          This Indenture Witnesseth - Thomas’s Contract of Indenture
instrumental, apprenticeship, rival, rhetoric, tempestuous, preservation, ballads, ephemeral
Students will:
1)     explain how Isaiah Thomas’s life was affected by the economic, social, cultural, and political causes of the American Revolution; 
2)     understand the importance of historical events on a person’s life; and
3)     comprehend how one person can affect historical events.

Read the Short Biographical Essay and discuss Isaiah’s life.  If students can comprehend the essay, have the students read and discuss it.  What was unusual about his life and how does it compare to their own lives?

Pass out the other documents and have the students examine them.  Discuss topics that they do not understand (This Indenture Witnesseth, The Lawyer’s Pedigree).  Could they be indentured?  Could they, on their first day of work, not knowing how to read, set the type for The Lawyer’s Pedigree?  Discuss how it would feel to be taken away from their parents and forced to work at the age of six.

Pass out the Time Line of Isaiah Thomas’s Life .  Have the students create a timeline of Isaiah’s involvement with important historical events.  They can draw pictures from the different handouts of the whole curriculum guide or create their own.

Compare and contrast the timelines.  Compare and contrast the timelines as historical documents.  Which pictures or events work the best to tell about history?


Take a field trip to Old Sturbridge Village to see Thomas’s printing shop and to see what life was like towards to the end of Thomas’s life.