Wife of one president and mother of another, Abigail Adams was more than a family helpmate. Insightful, witty, and intensely concerned with politics, she shared and shaped her husband John’s political thought and career. Because of his service to the nation in war and diplomacy, they spent more than half their married life apart, but they communicated closely. In early 1776 she was caring for their four young children alone, but she wrote him to urge daring and boldness.
In her famous “Remember the Ladies” letter, Abigail Adams proposed that women should claim their share of liberty. She objected specifically to the legal codes under which married women could not own property. But she was ahead of her time; later generations of women would have to struggle to change such laws.
“I desire you would remember the ladies and be more generous and favorable to them that your ancestors. Do not put such unlimited power into the hands of the husbands. Remember, all men would be tyrants if they could. If particular care and attention is not paid to the ladies, we are determined to foment a rebellion, and will not hold ourselves bounds by any laws in which we have no voice or representation.”