Abigail Adams

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Abigail Adams was the First Lady of the United States in 1796. Her marriage to John Adams thrust her into the spotlight of the American people.

Unlike Martha Washington, Abigail was opinionated and had beliefs against slavery, believed in equal rights for men and women, and thought that everyone deserved an education.

One of Abigail’s and John’s six children was John Quincy Adams, who later became President of the United States.

It is thanks to the over one thousand letters shared between John and Abigail that we have learned so much about what was happening on the front lines during the Revolutionary War.

 

Where did they live?

Born in 1744 in Weymouth, Massachusetts, her father was a minister, and only her two brothers went to school.

Abigail’s mother taught her to read and write, and Abigail used her father’s extensive library to self-educate.

This experience led to frustration and her later argument for women’s rights.

Marrying John Adams

When John Adams and Abigail met, he was a country lawyer. She loved his sense of humor, and he admired her wit and intelligence. Over the years, the couple had six children with two dying very young.

By 1768 the family relocated to Boston during the tense time between the colonies and the British Empire. John chose to become involved in the growing revolution, and in 1775 he was selected to attend the Continental Congress in Philadelphia, PA. In the same year, the American Revolutionary War started.

John was away from home for much of the time, and Abigail made all of the decisions in the family and home care, including finances, taking care of their farm, and ensuring that the children were educated.

During part of the war, she was only twenty miles away from part of the battles, and she hid some of the soldiers that were escaping in her home as well as donated her kitchen utensils for them to melt for musket balls.

Abigail and John Adams were known to be devoted to each other, and during the separation of war, they never stopped writing letters to each other.

Once the war was over, John Adams went to Europe to work for Congress. Abigail decided to take her daughter Nabby and go to Paris. During her trip to Europe, Abigail met Benjamin Franklin and Thomas Jefferson. She liked Jefferson and did not like Franklin. Later Abigail went to London and met the King of England.

Once Abigail and John returned home, it didn’t take long before George Washington selected John as Vice President in 1788. Abigail advised John of her thoughts on many political topics.

First Lady

By 1796, John Adams was elected president, and Abigail became the First Lady. Abigail was friends with Martha Washington, but unlike Martha, Abigail had set political opinions.

She was worried that people wouldn’t like her and continuously concerned about saying the wrong thing.

Equal Rights

Abigail was a staunch supporter of equal rights for women and people of color, against slavery, and fought for the right of all to be educated.

John always looked to Abigail for a woman’s point of view on many subjects.

Retirement

Abigail and John retired to Quincy, Massachusetts, and by 1818 Abigail came down with typhoid fever, which killed her.

She didn’t live long enough to see her son. John Quincy Adams become president.

Facts about Abigail Adams

  • Born in 1744 in Weymouth, Massachusett
  • Her nickname as a child was “Nabby”.
  • Abigail and her sisters were homeschooled
  • She married John Adams on October 25, 1764
  • She was the wife of John Adams, the second President of the United States
  • John and Abigail exchanged over 1100 letters
  • She was an early women’s rights, advocate
  • Abigail died on October 28, 1818, in Quincy, Massachusetts
  • Her Son John Quincy Adams became president in 1825

What did you learn?

What were three of the political beliefs held by Abigail Adams?

Against slavery, equality for all, everyone should be educated

What was Abigail Adams’ big concern about being First Lady?

Her political opinions and that they might upset people

How did Abigail Adams become educated?

Her mother taught her to read and write and she used her father’s library to educate herself

What do we give John and Abigail credit for in learning about the front lines of the Revolutionary War?

The over 1,000 letters that they exchanged

What is the name of Abigail’s son that went on to become president?

John Quincy Adams

How many children did John and Abigail have?

Six