Abigail Adams: A Life
Abigail Adams: A Life
Format: PDF / Kindle (mobi) / ePub
In this new, vivid, nuanced portrait, now in paperback, prize-winning historian Woody Holton uses original sources and letters for the first time in a sweeping reinterpretation of Adams's life story and of women's roles in the creation of the republic.
In this vivid new biography of Abigail Adams, the most illustrious woman of the founding era, Bancroft Award–winning historian Woody Holton offers a sweeping reinterpretation of Adams’s life story and of women’s roles in the creation of the republic.
Using previously overlooked documents from numerous archives, Abigail Adams shows that the wife of the second president of the United States was far more charismatic and influential than historians have realized. One of the finest writers of her age, Adams passionately campaigned for women’s education, denounced sex discrimination, and matched wits not only with her brilliant husband, John, but with Thomas Jefferson and George Washington. When male Patriots ignored her famous appeal to “Remember the Ladies,” she accomplished her own personal declaration of independence: Defying centuries of legislation that assigned married women’s property to their husbands, she amassed a fortune in her own name.
Adams’s life story encapsulates the history of the founding era, for she defined herself in relation to the people she loved or hated (she was never neutral), a cast of characters that included her mother and sisters; Benjamin Franklin and James Lovell, her husband’s bawdy congressional colleagues; Phoebe Abdee, her father’s former slave; her financially naïve husband; and her son John Quincy.
At once epic and intimate, Abigail Adams, sheds light on a complicated, fascinating woman, one of the most beloved figures of American history.
reconstructing her conversation with Elizabeth in a letter to Abigail. Mary’s transcription provides a rare glimpse into the everyday exchanges of an era that predated the invention of recorded audio. Mary opened by criticizing Tyler’s failure to correspond with his fiancée. PALMER: If he was to blame for neglecting her so long he wrote her a long letter in vindication of himself. CRANCH: And at my expence as well as that of others of her correspondence who never mention’d his name. PALMER:
Translated from the Original Italian, By the Author of The Marriage Act, a Novel, vol. 1 (London, 1755), 169. 140¶1 [Shebbeare], Letters on the English Nation, 168–69; Crane, “Political Dialogue and the Spring of Abigail’s Discontent,” 761. 140¶2 AA to JA, June 30, , AFC, 3:52–53. 141¶1 [Shebbeare], Letters on the English Nation, 168–69. 141¶2 AA to JA, June 30, , AFC, 3:52. 141¶3 AA to JA, Aug. 22, 1777, [ca. July 15, 1778], AA to JT, April 9, 1778, AFC, 2:323, 3:61, 6. 142¶1 AA to
403–404 “Remember the Ladies” letter, xx, 39, 93, 99–105, 116, 141, 172, 173 return to Massachusetts from Europe, 256–57 reunited with John in London, 200–201 Revolutionary War and, 78–85, 92, 97–101, 121, 125–29, 131–34, 144–45, 158, 172–73, 184 rheumatism of, 284, 407 separations from John, 21–32, 39–41, 58–62, 68–70, 76, 83–84, 87–90, 123–25, 134–39, 149, 157, 165–66, 173, 179–80, 200, 267, 289, 334, 354 servants of, 32, 40–41, 88–89, 142, 184, 193, 195, 203, 215, 217, 255, 267, 281–82,
Wollaston, just north of the Weymouth Fore River, which separated Braintree from Weymouth. By her teenage years, she had walked the eight-mile round-trip between Weymouth parsonage and Mount Wollaston more times than she could count. Everyone knew which grandparent she had come to see—Elizabeth Quincy, whose most admired trait was undoubtedly her refusal to grow old. In a 1795 letter to her daughter, Abigail recalled that her grandmother’s “lively, cheerful disposition animated all around her.”
to palliate faults and Mistakes, to put the best Construction upon Words and Actions, and to forgive Injuries.” Perhaps the closest modern synonym would be nonjudgmental. Apparently the Smith girls had shown Adams their lack of candor by wittily passing judgment on something he had done or said. They had made fun of him. For a man whose defining sin was vanity, there could scarcely have been an unkinder cut. It seems likely that Mary and Abigail had cut Squire Adams down for putting on airs,