Abigail Adams And Mercy Otis Warren

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Abigail Adams And Mercy Otis Warren

Introduction

Abigail Adams and Mercy Otis Warren are two women who can be identified as the founding mothers of the United States. Abigail Adams was married to the former president of United States John Adams. She was actively involved in the political life of her husband.  She pushed her husband to recognize the legal rights of women. Mercy Otis on the other hand, vehemently opposed the British colonization in Massachusetts. Her work as an artist is often considered to be her way for presenting her political opinions. As a political writer she gave her voice when many other women maintained their silence. The two women were both born at Massachusetts, and both actively engaged in politics as feminist pushing not just their husband agendas, but the voice of women. These papers excavate into the lives of these two great women in American history.

Abigail Adams

She was born on November 11, 1744. Her parents were William Smith and Elizabeth Quincy. She was born at Weymouth, Massachusetts[1]. She did not have formal education, but instead learnt at home. She learned writing, reading, and mathematics. She also studied dance, music, and Irish. She had access to her father and grandfather’s libraries. Her father was someone who loved to learn and read and often encouraged his children to look at his extensive library[2]. Her special interest was on theology, philosophy, Shakespeare, ancient theory, the classics, and government law[3].

She met her husband and a lawyer John Adams when she was only 15, they later married on October 25 1764 and moved to Boston with him[4]. They bought a huge track of land in 1787, known as Peacefield, and John Adams was then a minister for Great Britain. Their marriage conceived three children among them the Sixth president of United States, John Quincy Adams.  Her first child came into their lives almost immediately after marriage. Therefore, her first role as a wife was to raise these children. Her other roles in the family included helping her husband in managing finances for their household, and producing crops. In 1774, Abigail, was left behind by her husband as he went to serve the British government as a delegate of the colony in the First Continental Congress[5].  This period led to a correspondence between the two that forms the basis of much of the public debates regarding her. In these letters she passed various advices to her husband political questions. She also reflected her own observations as well as the unfolding events during the revolution. Abigail in 1776, when the Second Continental Congress came close, began to write letters to her husband telling him that there was need for new government to uplift the legal status of women to the level of men. Though she did not succeed in pushing him to admit the need to do this, her writing are the first known attempts to have women enjoy the same rights as men. She remained separated with her husband as he moved between countries in official duties, but she kept him informed of what was taking place locally.

She took an active role in her husband political life. Following her husband election to the presidency of United States between March 179 7 and March 1801 as the second president, she rose to the status of First Lady. She stayed with him in Philadelphia and later on at Washington, D.C for a period of eighteen months in both places[6]. Often, she openly criticized those she considered to be against her husband Federal Party. The anti-Federalist inclined to Thomas Jefferson like Albert Gallatin became her immortal enemies and openly criticized her in press. He called her names and nicknamed her “Mrs. President not of the United States but a faction”. Although such statements hurt her a lot, she was not intimidated. She did not fear to give her personal opinion. She was not liked for her opinions, but was highly valued by her husband[7].  Her influence on presidential appointments made her a number one enemy of the opposition. In addition, she consistently campaigned for freedom of African-American slaves and equality in education for girls.

Just about the time the continental Congress gave the independence declaration in 1776, she had written a letter to her husband requesting him to put ladies into consideration while drafting new code of laws she argued that ladies were going to rebel if they were not going to be represented or given a voice. It is known that her husband refused to harkens to her statement, and Holton writes how she went ahead to revolt against these laws within her household[8]. As one of her letter in 1782, revealed, she took issue with the law degradation of women by giving husbands undue rights to control and even disposal of the properties of their wives. She went ahead to defy these laws and created her own wealth. In 1816, convinced she was in the edge of death she sat down and wrote down a will. Legally she did not have a right to own properties while her husband was alive and the mere act of drafting this will was an a act of rebellion. Even more intriguing is the fact that she decide to live her properties not to her sons, but to other married women.

She is therefore, known to have initiated a revolution for personal property rights. Like many other patriots in the revolutionary period her husband abandoned his family for a very long period. As a result, he was not able to manage their properties. Abigail was therefore responsible for managing the financial aspects of the family and she was very good at it. She was very good at investing these fiancés because she was open to risks. She invested her husband money in government securities and other ventures. Out of this money she stashed away some, which she referred to as her own pocket money[9].  In her will she gave out most of her wealth to her granddaughters as compared to what she left for her male relatives. Holton argues that the main reason for doing this was not because she hated them, but because she wanted to cut her life as.............


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