McAulay: Abigail Adams: The Seed for Women’s Rights

Abigail Adams is known, to this day, for her knowledge and dedication regarding politics and freedom. Many times, in our History classes, we hear about the letters she sent to her husband, President John Adams, while he was away. The vast majorities of her letters were filled with input concerning the welfare of the Colonies, and though many of her letters were filled with great incite, there was one in particular that her independent and revolutionist spirit was greatly exhibited.  


On March 31, 1776 Abigail Adams sent her husband a letter. She began by asking him about his whereabouts, the political situation, and then she protested about the decisions coming Virginia. Abigail, at that time carried her writings to the discussion of the Small Pox Epidemic, letting John know that her family was not hit by it, but that she was a bit worried. She then went on telling him about the Current State of Affairs, in their town, giving him a “better than expected” report.

After Abigail finished telling John about the family’s welfare, she then swayed to a new topic, one that sparks much interest in my mind. She discusses women’s rights. It was at that point, she made it clear that she was aware of the deals that were going on, regarding the Declaration of Independence, and she was sure to give a shout out to women. But little did she know that those few lines would go down in history, known as “Remember the Ladies”. She wrote:

“I long to hear that you have declared an independency-and by the way in the new Code of Laws which I suppose it will be necessary for you to make, I desire you would remember the Ladies, and be more generous and favorable to them than your ancestors. Do not put such unlimited power into the hands of the Husbands. Remember all Men would be tyrants if they could. 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.


That your Sex are Naturally Tyrannical is a Truth so thoroughly established as to admit of no dispute, but such of you as wish to be happy willingly give up the harsh title of Master for the more tender and endearing one of Friend. Why then, not put it out of the power of the vicious and the Lawless to use us with cruelty and indignity with impunity. Men of Sense in all Ages abhor those customs which treat us only as the vassals of your Sex. Regard us then as Beings placed by providence under your protection and in imitation of the Supreme Being make use of that power only for our happiness.”

Abigail, courageously, took a fair hammer to a man’s pride along with making the threat of a Women’s Rebellion. She took it even further to even use her husband’s words against him, saying, “…no voice, or representation”, doesn’t that sound quite similar to “No Taxation without Representation”? Abigail certainly made a strong case. She used logic and common sense, and even called out the hypocrisy that was being exposed.

Abigail Adams was valiant. When the Government told her to sit down and be quiet, she refused to be silent, and when most women were scared, she displayed her independent spirit. Abigail Adams was a woman with Integrity, Honesty, and Fearlessness. I would, without a doubt, give her much credit when it comes to the Women’s Suffrage Movement, because although it was hundreds of years before the Women’s Suffrage, she surely planted a seed, a wanting for independence. And after a hundred years that seed she planted, flourished into Liberty.

This was Originally posted at Written by:Team Leader, Madeleine McAulay is a 15 year old from North Carolina. She is a proud contributor of Team Cubs, and is the creator and author of the Blog: Madeleine’s dream is to meet Governor Palin, and she hopes to encourage other teens to get involved!


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