Historical Society - Sample Essay

Abigail Adams (1744-1818) was married to the second president of the United States. Between the years of 1762 and 1801 she and her husband exchanged over 1,100 letters containing many different topics. Abigail was considered by many as the right hand and equal of her husband. Abigail would often start her letters by asking her husband how he was doing; she would then give him an update about what was going on around her. Abigail would discuss and try to persuade her husband by discussing politics (man’s domain). Abigail was highly outspoken about women’s rights.

“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 (Massachusetts Historical Society, 2006)”. She was trying to influence the softer side of man by taking down the domain and fortress they had built up and used to segregate the one’s who stood beside them most. Abigail was against slavery and used her political persuasion with her husband to help get rid of prejudice during her time.

As part of her persuasive writing campaign, Abigail wrote that the Virginians who held power and possessed a passion for liberty had become use to ‘depriving their fellow creatures’ of freedom. By saying this, Abigail was showing the political and prejudice side with regards to stature. In February of 1791, Abigail wrote to John about a little black servant boy who came to her and asked if he could go to school to learn to read and write. Abigail was brazen enough to enroll him as a student in a local evening school.

When objections came up about what she had done, she simply used her husband’s political stature and her influence because of it to continue to allow the boy a proper education. Abigail never stood down from the political tyranny against women. “Remember the ladies, and be more generous to them than your ancestors”. Abigail basically went on to say the women would form a rebellious standing to any of the written laws against them—laws in which women held no voice or had any representation under. Abigail became their voice by stature and prominence.

In 1798 while John was in office, Abigail became concerned with the influence of the French revolution and rumors of a forthcoming French invasion of the Americas. Abigail pushed for her husband to declare a war upon France. Although it was not done “her Majesty” (Abigail) continued to hold a great influence upon her husband. By his later years, John no longer believed in the slavery of others and had upheld a softer reign toward women, and a stable fortitude with regards to the politics of the nation.

Abigail would always sign her letters to John as his ‘ever faithful friend’. By taking on the role of a loving and not obedient wife, she managed to have a relationship with her husband that allowed her to have ‘a say’ with regards to almost any topic she liked. By doing this she maintained a personal and business-like relationship with John. Abigail’s son John Quincy Adams went on to become the 6th president of the United States. She always kept in touch with her son.

References: The Massachusetts Historical Society (2006). Letters of Abigail and John. www.masshist.org/digitaladams/aea/letter/