Adams, Abigail (1744–1818)
Abigail Adams (1744–1818)
Over 200 years ago, there was a girl who dared to be different. Few girls went to school at that time. But Abigail Smith wanted an education. Luckily, her father had a huge library. She used these books to teach herself.
When Abigail was old enough to marry, she chose a man who also valued books and learning. His name was John Adams. She became Abigail Smith Adams.
In those days, there was no United States. Instead, there were 13 colonies. A colony is a place that is ruled by another country. The 13 colonies were ruled by a king. He was far away in the country of England. This would soon change. John Adams would help start a new country. And Abigail would give him important advice and support.
Both John and Abigail Adams were Patriots. Patriots wanted a country where people chose their own leaders and made their own laws. The Patriots knew that to break away from the king would mean war.
A group of men met secretly in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. They met to form a new country. John Adams was there, but Abigail Adams stayed home. Back then, women did not make decisions about government. But Abigail read the newspapers and formed her own ideas about the country to be. She wrote letters to her husband. The letters were filled with her ideas. “Remember the Ladies,” she wrote.
Abigail Adams wrote about rights for African Americans, too. At that time, millions of African Americans were enslaved. Enslaved people have their freedom taken away. Their lives are ruled by others who treat them like property. Abigail Adams believed this was wrong. African Americans ” … have as good a right to freedom as we have,” she wrote to John Adams. Abigail’s letters helped her husband think about certain issues in new ways.
It took more than eight years, but the Patriots won the war. John Adams became the new country’s first vice president and second president. Abigail became the First Lady. That is what the wife of a president is called. Abigail was one of the smartest First Ladies in history.
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