“Well, knowledge is a fine thing, and mother Eve thought so; but she smarted so severely for hers, that most of her daughters have been afraid of it since” -Abigail Adams letter to Elizabeth Shaw (20 march 1791)
Abigail Smith was born into a prestigious family of Congregationalists in rural New England. Growing up Abigail Smith was taught a basic education by her grandmother. However, she hungered for knowledge and spent most of her time reading books on subjects such as; philosophy, theology, Shakespeare, ancient history, and government and law. She absorbed the knowledge from the vast amount of books she read and the constant conversations of the elite visiting her household. It was uncommon for women to take a intrest in any education other than that used for domestic purposes. Education was thought to corrupt a woman and strip her from the pios, submissive, and domestic role she was expected to adhere to. She met John Adams at the age of fifteen and their friendship soon bloomed into romance. Abigail’s marriage to John Adams would put her in a position to correspond with other politically active people and set her on the course to becoming the person people recognize today as one of the first women activists. Abigail Adams started a change in the way Americans thought. She focused on two major issues, women’s rights and slavery. Through her letters she was able to make the public aware of the injustices of these issues.
John Adams was constantly away from the home for work or politics. He left Abigail to raise their children and manage the household and finances. John was even more absent during the Revolution, leaving Abigail to run their home while also facing the dangers of war. In a letter Abigail writes to John she describes her responsibilities during his absence,” I cannot avoid sometimes repining that the gifts of fortune were not bestowed upon us, that I might have enjoyed the happieness of spending my days with my partner. But as it is, I...
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