Last updated: June 11, 2022
Abigail Adams (1744-1818) is known for her role as First Lady during the presidency of John Adams. In addition to being the wife of the second president, she was also the mother of John Quincy Adams, the sixth president of the United States. While the men in her life were prolific political thinkers, Abigail was knowledge about politics and gave advice to both her husband and son. She was particularly passionate about women’s rights.
She was one of the first advocates of women’s equal education and women’s property rights. Adams had strong feelings about marriage and believed women should take more part in decisions rather than simply serve their husbands. Adams believed that women should educate themselves and use their intellect to manage the household affairs, as well as be a moral guide for the family.
In a letter to her husband John, March 1776, while he was in Philadelphia, Adams wrote, “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.”
Adams National Historical Park: https://www.nps.gov/adam/learn/historyculture/abigail-adams-1744-1818.htm
Women’s Rights National Historical Park: https://www.nps.gov/wori/learn/historyculture/abigail-adams.htm