Abigail Adams Childhood Events Essay

Abigail Adams Essay

Abigail Adams

Abigail Adams was and still is a hero and idle for many women in the United States. As the wife of John Adams, Abigail used her position to bring forth her own strong federalist and strong feminist views. Mrs. Adams was one of the earliest feminists and will always influence today's women.

Abigail Adams was born Abigail Smith in 1744 at Weymouth, Massachusetts. She was a descendent of the Qunicys', a very prestigious family in the colonies, on her mothers' side. On her fathers' side Abigail was a descendent of Congressional Ministers. During a time when women did not receive a formal education, her grandmother at home taught Abigail. Her eagerness to learn and to read is what created a bond between John Adams and her.

Abigail was married to John Adams in 1764. Their marriage has been described as one of the mind and the heart. The young couple moved to a small farm in Boston as Johns' law practice expanded. In the next ten years Abigail gave birth to three sons and two daughters. The main goal in her life had now become watching over the family and home without her husband.
The time apart from John was spent teaching her children, dealing with wartime shortages, inflation, and running the farm with little help and writing letters to ease her loneliness.

It was in these letters that Abigail Adams views on government and feminism were made apparent to John Adams. While John was away helping the country declare independence, Abigail wrote her most famous letter to him. On March 31, 1776 Abigail wrote:
" I long to hear that you have declared an independency- and by the way in the new Code of Laws which I suppose it will be necessary for you to make I would desire you would Remember the Ladies, and be more generous and favourable to them than your ancestors."
"Remember all men would be tyrants if they could. If perticular care and attention is not paid to the ladies we are determined to foment a rebellion, and will not hold ourselves bound by any laws in which we have no voice, or representation."
The reaction of John Adams was less than satisfactory. He responded by telling Abigail that he had laughed at her request. He called her letter saucy and told her he had more to deal with than the request of women.

This angered Abigail and she wrote to Mercy Otis Warren on April 27, 1776:
"He is very saucy to me in return for a List of Female Grievances which I transmitted to him. I think I will get you to join me in a petition to congress. I thought it was very probable our wise statesmen would erect a new government and form a new code of laws. I ventured to speak a word on behalf of our sex, who are rather hardly dealt with by the laws of England which gives such unlimited power to the husband to use his wife."
"I believe I even threatened formenting a Rebellion in...

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Abigail Adams’s talent as a correspondent has won her a high place in American letters. Born in Weymouth, Massachusetts, she was descended from many well known New England families. Self-educated, she read widely and studied French. In 1764, at age nineteen, she married a young lawyer, John Adams, and moved to his home in Braintree, where she stayed through the Revolution. There she raised four children, Abigail, John Quincy, Charles, and Thomas Boylston. Another child died in infancy.

Did You Know?

Abigail Adams was the first first lady to live in the White House; she moved into the unfinished mansion in November 1800.

In the 1770s, John Adams became involved in revolutionary politics. He served as a delegate to the Continental Congresses and in other wartime posts. During his frequent absences, Abigail Adams ran the household and family farm, engaged in business enterprises, purchased land, and dealt with tenants. In 1784, she joined John in Europe, where he was the American minister to Great Britain. During his terms as vice president and president (1789-1801), she lived in New York, Philadelphia, and Washington, and thereafter in Quincy, Massachusetts.

Abigail Adams may have found her calling as a correspondent during her courtship in the 1760s or, more likely, during her wartime separation from her husband. For over four decades, she wrote letters to him and to her children, relatives, and friends. As a writer she chose the form most natural to eighteenth-century women, for whom publication was rarely an option. Letter writing was not only a form of communication but a mode of self-definition and a way of relating to the larger society. An avid reader, Abigail devoured literature, history, and political philosophy. Despite her lack of training, phonetic spelling, and often faulty grammar, she perfected her style and excelled at her craft. “My pen is always freer than my tongue,” she wrote to John in 1775. “I have wrote many things to you that I suppose I never could have talked.”

Her letters provide a window on eighteenth-century life, private and public. They reveal Abigail’s roles as wife, parent, and friend; her domestic and social activities; her opinions and observations. They also convey her zeal for politics, her intense interest in national affairs, and her avid patriotism. “Our country is as it were a Secondary God, and the first and greatest parent,” she wrote to Mercy Warren in 1776. “It is to be perferred [sic] to parents, to wives, children, Friends and all things the Gods only excepted.” Her wartime correspondence with John Adams combined personal messages, local news, and political commentary. In March 1776, she vented a complaint about the legal subjection of married women. “I desire you would Remember the ladies, and be more generous and favourable to them than your ancestors,” she wrote in a jesting tone. “Do not put such unlimited power into the hands of the Husbands.”

In her later years, Abigail remained a strong partisan of John Adams and a staunch supporter of her successful oldest son, John Quincy Adams, who was elected president in 1824. In 1840, her grandson, Charles Francis Adams, published 114 of her letters and edited for an 1876 volume the wartime correspondence between John and Abigail Adams.

The Reader’s Companion to American History. Eric Foner and John A. Garraty, Editors. Copyright © 1991 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.


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