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.
Abigail Adams was the wife of John Adams, the second President of the United States. She was an advocate for women’s rights and education and corresponded with her husband on political matters during his presidency. Her famous quote, “Remember the ladies,” urged her husband and other founding fathers to consider women’s rights in the formation of the new nation.
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.
Abigail Adams Facts for Kids
- 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
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.
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.
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.
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 becomes president.
Abigail Adams, an early supporter of women’s rights in the US, told her husband John Adams in 1776 to “remember the ladies.” This quote is one of the first public demands for gender equality in America.
Even though women had limited rights during her lifetime, Abigail used her writing to argue for better education for women and their involvement in politics. She’s a symbol of the women’s rights movement, showing how long this fight for equality has been part of our history.
Abigail offered a rare female perspective on the American Revolution through her letters. She discussed war and politics, managed their farm, and took care of their family while her husband was away. Importantly, she used this time to speak up for women’s rights and education.
She famously told her husband to “remember the ladies” when creating the new country’s laws. In short, Abigail embodied the Revolution’s ideals: freedom, equality, and rights for everyone, including women.
She wrote many letters, especially to her husband John Adams. These letters covered politics, philosophy, and everyday life. They show her thoughts on topics like gender equality and education and provide a glimpse of her roles as a wife and mother.
Her intelligent and insightful writing style is evident. Abigail’s letters, filled with both advice and personal stories, show her engagement with issues of her time. These letters are now a valuable source of information about the American Revolution and the early US.
Early American History
Abigail was crucial in early American history, though she held no formal title. She was married to John Adams, a key revolutionary figure and the second U.S. President. Her letters offer insight into political and social issues of her time, like women’s rights and slavery.
Her call to “remember the ladies” when making laws is an early example of American feminism. Despite her husband’s absences, she managed their family and farm, showing women’s important role in the home during the Revolution. Abigail’s life and writings thus provide a vital view of early American history and women’s role in it.
Women in Colonial America
Abigail Adams was a strong advocate for women in Colonial America, a time when women were mainly expected to focus on the home and family. Despite women’s lack of political rights and education, Abigail voiced her opinions through letters to her husband, John Adams. She spoke about women’s rights and the importance of their education.
As a self-educated woman at a time when women’s education was limited. She learned from books in her father’s library and understood complex political and social issues. More than that, she strongly supported women’s education. She told her husband that education was key to women’s growth and independence.
Abigail Adams exemplifies Enlightenment values such as reason, individualism, and the quest for knowledge. She taught herself from her father’s library and her letters show her understanding of Enlightenment ideals like liberty, equality, and the value of education.
As a “Founding Mother,” Abigail Adams had a unique role in early American history. While her husband John Adams and other “Founding Fathers” shaped the nation, Abigail influenced politics through her letters and managed their home and property. So, Abigail illustrates the key roles women, though often overlooked, played in America’s formative years.
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?