During the year of 1780, eight years before the constitution is written, Abigail Adams writes to her son, John Quincy Adams, future president of the United States who was travelling with his father John Adams, a United States Diplomat at the time. Oblivious that her son would become a future president, she tries to convince her son of earnestness and travelling. Adams engages a maternal tone throughout the letter, using allusions, appeals and flattery throughout it. Adams appeals to her son by flattering him in the first half of the letter as well as his affection toward her. She begins with “My Dear Son” to establish that her son will not be getting scolded in the letter. Adams appeals to her son’s emotions by saying his safety is her top concern to persuade him into listening to her advice. She compliments his language skills by saying it “must give you greater advantages” than goes on to say that he will find his “understanding opening and daily improving”. Adams alludes back to her meeting with an author to gives her argument leverage. The author she had met with compared a traveller to a river saying “that it increases its stream the further it goes” implying that he should be learning and improving his own skills on the voyage with his father which she had urged him to go on. She flatters him again by saying he has a natural talent and it must not be wasted, that it is “expected” for him to improve upon those god given talents.
In the second half of the letter, Adams tries to instill her son with a sense of responsibility by alluding to a historical event. She begins by saying it is “a world which genius would wish to live” referring back to “Cicero”, implying comparison between him and her son, then writes on about Cicero’s writings about “Tyranny of Cataline, Verres,and Mark Anthony.” This is a
compliment that flatters her son and the allusion allows her to back up her claim of “the habits a ...
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