Abigail Adams: Holding Down the Fort

Abigail Adams: Holding Down the Fort

Best known as the wife of the second president of the United States, John Adams, and the mother of the sixth president, John Quincy Adams, Abigail Adams (1744–1818) was a powerhouse in her own right. A passionate and vocal activist for women’s rights, she raised four children largely on her own, as her husband’s political work kept him far from home. Separate living arrangements gave rise to an extraordinary correspondence between Adams and her Founding Father husband that spanned four decades; she advised him on political matters large and small. In her famous letter of 1776, Adams urged the future president to “remember the ladies” when writing laws for the new nation “and be more generous and favourable to them than your ancestors.” The first First Lady to live in the White House, Adams also once said, “All men would be tyrants if they could.”

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