Abigail Smith Adams – USA (1744 – 1818)

Abigail Adams (née Smith) (November 11, 1744 – October 28, 1818) was the wife of John Adams, the second President of the United States, and mother of John Quincy Adams, the sixth, and is regarded as the first Second Lady of the United States and the second First Lady of the United States though the terms were not coined until after her death. Adams is remembered for the many letters she wrote to her husband while he stayed in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, during the Continental Congresses. John Adams frequently sought the advice of his wife on many matters, and their letters are filled with intellectual discussions on government and politics. The letters are invaluable eyewitness accounts of the Revolutionary War home front as well as excellent sources of political commentary … (full long text).

Find also her bio and picture: on First Ladies; on library thinkquest; on Famous-People.info; on American Picture Links.Com; on NNDB; on about.com; on East Buchanan Community Schools;  on picture History; on emonety.pl; on USinfo.state.gov/in an asian language.

Find her also on The Adams Papers; on uk.ask.com; on alibris; on Google Book-search; on Google Scholar-search; on Google Group-search; on Google Blog-search.

She is named as Better World Heroe.

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Abigail Smith Adams – USA (1744 – 1818)

Abigdail’s Letters on Harvard University Press; on Abigail Adams letters for the years 1761 thru 1816; 0n The electronic archive;on amazon; as a Google download-book: The Book of Abigail and John, By John Adams, L. H. Butterfield, Marc Friedlaender, Mary-Jo Kline, 2002, 411 pages; on A Love Letter from Abigail Adams to John Adams; … (and much more by Google-search result and by Googles Image results for Abigdail Adams letters).

Video-search on YouTube by Abigdail Adams letters. Watch also the video.

LETTERS BETWEEN ABIGAIL ADAMS AND HER HUSBAND JOHN ADAMS, an excerpt: … She wrote in one of them:

  • … “Remember, all men would be tyrants if they could. If particular 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.
  • “That your sex are naturally tyrannical is a truth so thoroughly established as to admit of no dispute; but such of you as wish to be happy willingly give up – the harsh tide of master for the more tender and endearing one of friend.
  • “Why, then, not put it out of the power of the vicious and the lawless to use us with cruelty and indignity with impunity?
  • “Men of sense in all ages abhor those customs which treat us only as the (servants) of your sex; regard us then as being placed by Providence under your protection, and in imitation of the Supreme Being make use of that power only for our happiness.” (full text).

She wrote:

  • Great necessities call out great virtues.
  • EDUCATION: Learning is not attained by chance. It must be sought for with ardor and attended to with diligence.
  • LEADERSHIP: Great necessities call forth great leaders.
  • PERSEVERANCE: “Great difficulties may be surmounted by patience and perseverance.”
  • WOMEN: If particular 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 … and: “If we mean to have heroes, statesmen and philosophers, we should have learned women” (all picked up on Better World Heroes … (with LINKS FOR MORE INFORMATION).
  • I begin to think, that a calm is not desirable in any situation in life. … Man was made for action and for bustle too, I believe (letter to her sister, Mary Smith Cranch, 1784).
  • … many on my dearest friend.
  • … I have sometimes been ready to think that the passion for Liberty cannot be Eaquelly Strong in the Breasts of those who have been accustomed to deprive their fellow Creatures of theirs. Of this I am certain that it is not founded upon that generous and christian principal of doing to others as we would that others should do unto us … (full text).
  • Find 3 quotations in The Oxford Dictionary of Political Quotations.

Her political viewpoints:  She said also: … remember the ladies, and be more generous and favorable to them than your ancestors. Do not put such unlimited power into the hands of the Husbands. Remember all Men would be tyrants if they could. If particular 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”. John declined Abigail’s “extraordinary code of laws,” but acknowledged to Abigail, “We have only the name of masters, and rather than give up this, which would completely subject us to the despotism of the petticoat, I hope General Washington and all our brave heroes would fight”. (wikipedia /women’s rights).

… Often, Abigail spoke up for married women’s property rights and more opportunities for women, particularly in education. She believed that women should not submit to laws clearly not made in their interest. Women should not content themselves with the role of being decorous companions to their husbands. They should educate themselves and be recognized for their intellectual capabilities, for their ability to shoulder responsibilities of managing household, family, and financial affairs, and for their capacity morally to guide and influence the lives of their children and husbands. Although she did not insist on full female enfranchisement, in her celebrated letter of March, 1776, she exhorted her husband to “remember the Ladies, and be more generous and favorable to them than your ancestors. Do not put such unlimited power into the hands of the Husbands … (full text).

More on women’s life conditions in these days: During the (American) Revolutionary War, women applied the traditional skills they learned as homemakers to espionage work.  Both the British and American armies recruited housewives and young girls as cooks and maids. With their almost unrestricted access to soldiers’ campsites, these women could eavesdrop on conversations about troop movements, leadership changes, and equipment shortages and deliveries without raising suspicion.  Often at great peril, they secretly provided this critical intelligence data to military and civilian leaders.  Some reported directly to General Washington, who came to highly value the information he received from these “agents in place” … (Abigail Adams is pictured on this site as an exemple, without a text refering to her) … (full text).

More about her bio:

  • … The letters she exchanged with John and other family members reveal her cares and worries, her frank opinions and advice, and give an extraordinary view of civilian life during the Revolution. She also took an active interest in the political events of her day; in her letter to John on March 31, 1776, she made one of the earliest known arguments for women’s political rights in U.S. history … (full text).
  • As wife of the first Vice President, Abigail became a good friend to Mrs. Washington and a valued help in official entertaining, drawing on her experience of courts and society abroad. After 1791, however, poor health forced her to spend as much time as possible in Quincy. Illness or trouble found her resolute; as she once declared, she would “not forget the blessings which sweeten life” … The Adamses retired to Quincy in 1801, and for 17 years enjoyed the companionship that public life had long denied them. Abigail died in 1818, and is buried beside her husband in United First Parish Church. She leaves her country a most remarkable record as patriot and First Lady, wife of one President and mother of another … (full text).
  • Abigail Adams (November 11, 1744-October 28, 1818) advocated and modeled an expanded role for women in public affairs during the formative days of the United States. Married to John Adams, she was an invaluable partner to him as he developed his political career, culminating in the presidency of the United States. She left a voluminous correspondence, providing information on everyday life and insight into the activities in the corridors of power during her time. Her letters show her to have been a woman of keen intelligence, resourceful, competent, self-sufficient, willful, vivacious, and opinionated—a formidable force. Her writing reveals a dedication to principle, a commitment to rights for women and for African-Americans, fierce partisanship in matters of her husband’s and her family’s interest, and an irreverent sense of humor … (full text).
  • Abigail Adams was the daughter of William Smith, a minister of a Congregational church at Weymouth, in the colony of Massachusetts Bay; and of Elizabeth Quincy, a daughter of Col. John Quincy, the proprietor of Mount Wollaston. This beautiful spot, about seven miles from Boston, was settled by Thomas Wollaston and thirty of his associates in 1625, five years before that of the Massachusetts Colony. This settlement was broken up by Governor Winthrop, in the summer of 1630, shortly after his landing; and in 1634 was made part of Boston, and the land granted to William Coddington. This estate descended in a direct line till it became the property of William Smith, the father of Abigail Adams, and has been the residence and birthplace of the Adams family to the present day … (full text).
  • Abigail was alone at home for ten years while Mr. Adams was away as a delegate to the Continental Congress and later on diplomatic business in Europe. Over time Abigail Adams became extensively acquainted with the best English literature, and wrote in a terse, vigorous and often elegant style … (full text).
  • ABIGAIL SAILED on June 20, 1784. At age thirty-nine, having never been away from either her home or those of close relatives for more than a night or two in all her life, she, Nabby [her daughter Abigail], their two servants, and a cow went on board the Active at Rowe’s Wharf, and with a “fine wind” were quickly under way. Among the few other passengers, as Abigail recorded, were a Colonel Norton from Martha’s Vineyard, a Dr. Clark, a Mr. Foster, a Mr. Spear, a “haughty Scotchman” named Green, and one other woman whose name happened also to be Adams. No sooner had the ship passed the Boston lighthouse into rougher water than they were all horribly seasick. And so it was to be for days, everyone tossed about in cramped, “excessive disagreeable” quarters together … (full text).
  • Like other women of the time, Abigail lacked formal education, but her curiosity spurred her keen intelligence. She was an avid reader. Reading created a bond between her and young John Adams, a Harvard graduate, and they were married in 1764 … (full text).
  • … Most Americans, driven by emotion, were angry with Adams for defending the hated “redcoats,” but throughout the ordeal Abigail supported her husband’s decision. In the end, Adams was proven correct and all nine of the men were acquitted of the murder charges. Despite diffusing of this crisis, far greater ones were destined to be part of the course of events in the colonies … (full long text).

links:

Shangri-La News;

Abigail Adams House, a painting;

American Tradition-First Lady-Gown Series;

the book: The Adams Women, Abigail and Louisa Adams, Their Sisters and Daughters, by Paul C. Nagel;

the book: Adams Family Correspondence, Volumes 1 and 2, December 1761 – March 1778;

Ancestors of Abigdail Smith;

Watch the video: John Adams, A Life in Letters, 3.33 min, April 22, 2008

Categories on wikipedia:

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