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Old 11-07-2018, 03:24 PM
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Thumbs up Abilgail Adams (ca. 1744-1818)

Abilgail Adams (ca. 1744-1818)

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Inheriting New England's strongest traditions, Abigail Smith was born on November 11, 1744 at Weymouth, Massachusetts. On her mother's side she was descended from the Quincys, a family of great prestige in the colony.

Like other women of the time, Abigail lacked formal education, but curiosity spurred her keen intelligence, and she read avidly the books at hand. Reading created a bond between her and the young John Adams and they were married in 1764. It was a marriage of the mind and of the heart, enduring for more than half a century.

In ten years she bore three sons and two daughters. Abigail looked after family and home when John went traveling to serve the country they loved. Her letters - pungent, witty, and vivid, spelled just as she spoke - detail her life in times of revolution. They tell the story of a woman who struggled with wartime shortages and inflation, ran the farm with a minimum of help and taught four children when formal education was interrupted. They tell of her loneliness without her "dearest Friend."

In 1784, she joined him at his diplomatic post in Paris. After 1785, she filled the role of wife of the first United States minister to Great Britain. They returned to Massachusetts in 1788, to the handsome home they had just acquired at Braintree, later called Quincy.

As wife of the first vice president, Abigail became a good friend to Martha 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 found her resolute. She once declared, she would "not forget the blessings which sweeten life."

When John Adams was elected President, she continued a formal pattern of entertaining - even in the primitive conditions she found at the new capital in November 1800. The city was wilderness, the President's House far from complete, but for her three months in Washington she duly held official dinners and receptions.

The Adamses retired to Quincy in 1801, and for 17 Years enjoyed the companionship that public life had long denied them. Abigail Adams 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.

Abigail Adams
TITLE - Patriot & First Lady
RE: WAR & AFFILIATION - During the Revolutionary War
Born: November 11, 1744 - Died: October 28, 1818

Abigail Smith Adams, wife and confidant of John Adams, was born on November 11, 1744 in Weymouth, Massachusetts. Her bloodline derives from the Quincy household, a well-established and politically involved Massachusetts family. By birthright and manner, Abigail Smith was an indefatigable New Englander. Though self-educated, the future First Lady proved as learned and enlightened as any of her contemporaries. Indeed, Abigail wrote extensively. Notwithstanding the stigma associated with women and politics, Abigail openly expressed her political beliefs in letters to her husband. She confessed: “my pen is always freer than my tongue.”

In 1764, at age 19, Abigail Smith married John Adams and moved into his childhood home in Braintree, Massachusetts. When the Revolution commenced, John Adams was sent overseas as an American diplomat, charged with garnering European support for the colonies. Staying behind to tend to the farm, Abigail would often write to her husband, informing him on various public and private affairs, lending special attention to the political vicissitudes of the day. Throughout her lifetime, Abigail’s letters were unapologetically opinionated and politically progressive. She was a stalwart feminist, a champion of women rights and equality under the law. As the fledgling country was starting to take shape, Abigail penned in a letter to her husband, “I desire you would Remember the ladies, and be more generous and favourable to them than your ancestors. Do not put such unlimited power into the hands of the Husbands.” John rarely disagreed with her forward thinking. The letters between Abigail and John Adams demonstrate the mutual intellectual respect the couple shared. Indeed, her intellect was widely appreciated; in 1775, she was solicited to join a select, all-female jury to question Massachusetts women suspected of Loyalist tendencies. It was here that Abigail performed her first public responsibility.

Public life, however, did not appeal to Mrs. Adams. Assuming the role of First Lady in 1796, Abigail did not consider this social ascension to be favorable by any means. In fact, she described the position as one where she felt “fastened up hand and foot and tongue to be shot at.” For Abigail, the presidential prerogatives did not make up for the scrutiny she faced daily as First Lady. “I expect to be vilified and abused,” she once admitted.

The distaste Abigail had for public life did not, however, detract from her commitment to Mr. Adam’s presidency. Confident in her husband’s political acumen, Abigail wholeheartedly supported the Alien and Sedition Act, even though it was one of the President’s most controversial pieces of legislation. When the French Revolution wreaked havoc on the Adam’s Administration, Abigail, invested as usual, urged her husband to declare war against France. She also encouraged newspapers to publish her editorial writings which openly supported the Administration. Evidently, any criticism the First Lady endured did little to silence her voice.

When Thomas Jefferson succeeded John Adams in the election of 1800, Abigail was, by that point, “sick, sick, sick, of public life.” She and her husband finally returned home to Braintree where she would live out the rest of her life, dying at age 73 on October 28, 1818.

O Almighty Lord God, who neither slumberest nor sleepest; Protect and assist, we beseech thee, all those who at home or abroad, by land, by sea, or in the air, are serving this country, that they, being armed with thy defence, may be preserved evermore in all perils; and being filled with wisdom and girded with strength, may do their duty to thy honour and glory; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

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