Abigail Adams: WITNESS TO A REVOLUTION Abigail Adams, Witness to a Revolution, was one of the greatest writers of her age. She passionately campaigned for women’s education, denounced sex discrimination, and matched intelligence not only with her husband, John, but also with Thomas Jefferson and George Washington. She wrote more than two thousand letters about her legacy that her family members saved, recognizing their importance and ignoring her plea to burn them. Abigail’s letters are her biography and it is through them that we understand her unique character, sense of humor, independent spirit, and her English language.
It is through her writing that opens a window to our nation’s history and brings Abigail Adams and her time to life. On November 11, 1744, Abigail Adams was born Abigail Smith. She lived in a small town of Weymouth, Massachusetts and lived with her two parents William and Elizabeth Quincy Smith. She had two sisters and one brother, Mary, Elizabeth, and William. When Abigail was a little girl she always asked her mother if she could go to school. Her mother said no so her grandmother taught her to read and write at home.
Abigail loved to read books from her father’s library and listened in on her father’s meetings. She loved books and politics and was a very clever and talented girl. As a teenager, Abigail had many friends that she wrote letters to. She was always very self-conscious and worried about her spelling and punctuation since she didn’t have a proper education. One of Abigail’s many friends who wrote letters to her was John Adams. When Abigail was nineteen years old she married John Adams on October 25, 1764.
John Adams was a lawyer in the Smith family home of Weymouth, Massachusetts and was married by Abigail’s father, Reverend Smith. As a married couple they moved to Braintree and lived in a house that John inherited from his father. John was a very intelligent man who wanted to become a farmer as a boy, but his father discouraged it and sent him away to school. John got his education from Harvard College and this is where he became a lawyer. John and Abigail had five children together. Their first daughter, Abigail nicknamed Nabby, who was born on July 19, 1765.
Their second child was John who was born on July 17, 1767. Susan was born December 28, 1768, but passed away a year later. Their son Charles was born May 29, 1770 and on September 15, 1770 their son Thomas was born. In 1767, the Adams family was living in Braintree Mass. When the British started requiring taxes on American documents, John knew he wanted to help the colonies and became a well-known spokesman. He was away from home a lot so in 1768, Abigail moved her family to Boston. After the Boston Tea Party event they moved their family back to Braintree.
While John was away traveling it was up to Abigail to raise her first daughter Nabby, along with managing the farm and family money. She also taught a black slave how to read and write. When John was away she was often very lonely and writing letters made her feel better along with the birth of her second child John. John and Abigail had a very good marriage and relationship. She was very intrigued with politics and books and would often ask John what was going on in the world, which was very unusual for women to do so. They often talked about women’s rights.
When John was away Abigail would write to him reminding him of the women. Meaning that he should include women’s rights in the continental congress. In 1770 the Boston Massacre happened where the fire bells were ringing. Abigail rushed home afraid her house may be on fire but were relieved to find out they were safe. The bells sounding the town meant trouble. Some teenage boys were throwing rocks and snow at British soldier, which lead to the soldiers shooting five people dead, and six were very injured. This even was known as the Boston Massacre.
In 1775 the battle of Concord and Lexington marked the beginning of the Revolutionary War. Many people fled Boston for fear of attacks. Abigail invited them in for food and shelter and wrote, “The house is in state of confusion. ” When Johnny was eight years old, Abigail took her son to watch a battle on Breed’s Hill in Boston on June 17th, 1775. After seeing the terrible battle of Bunker Hill she wrote to her husband who showed her letters to George Washington and other leaders about the people’s suffering. In August 1776 the Declaration of Independence was written.
Abigail became the first First Lady to ever live in the White House when John was elected Presidents over the United States. As first Lady she spoke out in favor of the women’s rights. Abigail Adams in an example of a life lived by women in colonial, Revolutionary. While she is best known as an early First Lady and the role she took for women’s rights in letters to her husband she is also known as a farm manager and financial manager. Abigail passed away on October 28, 1818 of typhoid fever. She is buried beside her husband in Quincy, Massachusetts.
She was seventy-three when she died and her last words were, “Do not grieve, my friend, my dearest friend. I am ready to go. And John, it will not be long. ” –Abigail Adams The wife of the second president and the mother of five children, Abigail Adams was an extraordinary women. She experienced the Revolutionary War and saw the battle of Bunker Hill from a hilltop near her home. The letters written by Abigail Adams to her friends and family bring the Revolutionary period alive, with every day life changing events of her time.
She is given her own place in history in this award winning biography that she deserved and more. Natalie S. Bober wrote Abigail Adams, Witness to a Revolution because writing biographies did not only fascinate her, but her goal was to make Abigail Adams heard by everyone. She wanted us readers to know how much of a role she played in sticking up for women’s rights, being a good wife to her husband by caring for her family while he was away, and the decisions she had to make as a strong independent woman that changed the Revolutionary period and made her who she is today.
I don’t think the author took any sides or had any arguments while reading this book. Natalie Bober took a lot of time to research and search many old documents to put together this award winning biography. Reading this book I would recommend it to any strong independent women to reinsure us that there are great role models for us women to look up to. I only hope to be as courageous, intelligent and independent as Abigail Adams some day.