Abigail Adams (letters: Vol 1: 315-21)
The Letters of Abigail Adams
1. You'll notice that the titles of the letters (in brackets in the text) give us a good idea of what she was writing about: [Man is a Dangerous Creature]; [Remember the Ladies]; and [Absolute Power over Wives]. In your response to these informal, passionate letters, you might discuss the argument she makes to her husband and (relying on your study of history) the effect her admonitions had on the early history of the United States. (Be sure to quote from the letters briefly.)
2. Write Abigail Adams a letter about the lives of women in the late 20th and early 21st century--how their lives are different and (possibly) the same. Use examples (paraphrases or quotations) from the letters to make your comparison to show that you have read the letters carefully.
3. Imagine John Adams' responses to these letters and respond (as John) to each of them. Here's what he replied to her "Remember the Ladies" letter:
As to your extraordinary Code of Laws, I cannot but laugh. We have been told that our Struggle has loosened the bands of Government every where. That Children and Apprentices were disobedient--that schools and Colleges were grown turbulent--that Indians slighted their Guardians and Negroes grew insults to their Masters. But your Letter was the first Intimation that another Tribe more numerous and powerful than all the rest were grown discontented.--This is rather too coarse a Compliment but you are so saucy, I won't blot it out.
Depend upon it. We know better than to repeal our Masculine systems. Altho they are in full Force, you know they are little more than Theory. We dare not exert our Power in its full Latitude. We are obliged to go fair, and softly, and in Practice you know We are the subjects. We have only the Name of Masters, and rather than give up this, which would compleatly subject Us to the Despotism of the Petticoat, I hope General Washington, and all our brave Heroes would fight."
An insight into Abigail Adams' letters on the importance of women's education and political rights with a look at current women's situation.