A pioneer women’s rights advocate and the second First Lady.
Born Abigail Smith to a family of a church minister, at a time when women were not allowed to receive a formal education. Thanks to homeschooling and her father’s home library, she developed an appetite for knowledge and grew up forming strong progressive views. Just before her 19th birthday, she married John Adams, a country lawyer who will later become the second President of The United States.
During his frequent travels before and during the presidency, the couple corresponded with more than 1,100 letters, where Abigail demonstrated her talent for writing and her opinionated spirit. In one of those letters, she urges her husband to consider women’s rights in the new legislation after independence, warning that if not given equal representation – women will rebel. He dismissed her suggestion by writing back that it makes him laugh, but her words “remember the ladies” became an iconic feminist slogan 200 years on.
In The White House, she was given the nickname Mrs. President due to her involvement in the decision-making. She is famous for paving the way for future first ladies to be proactive figures.
As opposed to her father, who was a slaver, she supported abolition.
She gave birth to six children. One of her sons, John Quincy Adams, will become the 6th President. Before her death, she wrote a will favoring her female relatives. It was a subversive act of protest against the laws prohibiting married women from owning assets.
“I desire you would Remember the Ladies, and be more generous and favourable to them than your ancestors”
More Interesting Anecdotes:
- She managed the household by herself during the American Revolutionary War, providing refuge for soldiers and melting utensils to make bullets.
- When John was away in Europe, she decided to join him for four years. She traveled to Paris with her daughter, and from there the couple moved to London.
- The Adams were the first presidential couple to reside in the Washington, DC “White House”.