Last week, we profiled 100-year-old Ethel Arrowsmith on the site. In her interview with The San Diego Union Tribune, she mentioned she was reading a biography of Abigail Adams, an early feminist and one of her heroes. So, this week we decided to turn our "inspirational women" attention to the second First Lady of the United States.
Abigail Adams was the wife of John Adams (the second president of the United States) and the mother of John Quincy Adams (the sixth president of the United States). But, she was more than just a wife and mother.
She is often remembered for being her husband's intellectual counterpart, as documented in a series of letters filled with discussions on government and politics the pair wrote back and forth to each other while John Adams was in Philidelphia during the first Continental Congress.
It is also reported, especially compared to the much quieter first First Lady of the United States, Martha Washington, that Abigail Adams was so politically active that she was often referred to as "Mrs. President."
She was an early proponent of Women's Rights. She advocated for more educational opportunities for all women and for a more equitable legal status between men and women.
“If particular care and attention is not paid to the ladies, we are determined to foment a rebellion, and will not hold ourselves bound by any laws in which we have no voice or representation.” -- Abigail Adams, The Letters of John and Abigail Adams
Although she was not able to convince her husband to pass any laws on improving the legal status of women, her letters on the subject are considered to be some of the earliest writings calling for women's equal rights.
To learn more about Abigail Adams, David McCullough's biography of John Adams is a great resource. There's also a newer biography dedicated to Abigail Adams herself that was written by Woody Holton (published in 2010).
Who inspires you? I’d love to hear your ideas for upcoming blog posts. And, if you’d like to write a guest post on an inspirational woman of your choice, please send me a note via my Contact Page. I’d love to hear from you!