Humanities Moments

Abigail Adams Stands Up for “Ladies”

Portrait of Abigail Adams
In a time when wives were treated like property, Abigail Adams insisted that her husband “Remember the Ladies” when writing the laws of the country and warning him, that “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.” Full text of some of her letters can be found at http://americainclass.org/wp-content/uploads/2014/12/AAdams-StudentVersion.pdf

Title

Abigail Adams Stands Up for “Ladies”

Subject

Whenever I get discouraged about the struggle for equal rights for women, I remember all the women (and men) who’ve been fighting for those rights in the U.S. throughout our country’s history. Reading the letters written between Abigail Adams and her husband John, I’m reminded just how far we’ve come.

Description

In a time when wives were treated like property, Abigail Adams insisted that her husband “Remember the Ladies” when writing the laws of the country and warning him, that “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.” Full text of some of her letters can be found at http://americainclass.org/wp-content/uploads/2014/12/AAdams-StudentVersion.pdf

Creator

Adams, Abigail

Identifier

abigail-adams-stands-up-for-the-ladies

Text

(Abigail Adams, writing to her husband John - March 31, 1776)

"I long to hear that you have declared an independancy—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 favourable 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 perticuliar care and attention is not paid to the Laidies we are determined to foment a Rebelion, 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. "

Location