Abigail Adams - Gender Essay Example
Abigail Adams helped plant the seeds that would start women and men thinking about women’s rights and roles in a country that had been founded on the ideals of equality and independence - Abigail Adams introduction. Abigail’s education bothered her and was apparent in her letters. For Abigail to have taken such a strong interest in her education was a brave stance for a woman of her time. A woman born in Adams’s time had few choices in deciding the direction her life would take. She received little formal education, just enough to manage her duties as a housewife, but was encouraged to pursue what were considered more feminine pastimes, such as sewing, music, letter, writing, and hosting. Adams recognized the limited role women were allowed to play in the world. However, she insisted that a woman’s role carried an equal amount of importance and responsibility to a man’s. She believed that women deserved the opportunities and right including education and legal and political rights that would enable them to live to her fullest capacity within the domestic sphere.
Abigail was the wife of John Adams. During their long periods of separation, Abigail and John kept in close contact with letters. Abigail thought of John as her best friend and companion. Abigail addressed her letters to John, “My Dearest Friend,” as if they were only friends. Abigail made her strongest appeal for women’s rights in 1776. Adams wrote to her husband John begging him to remember that women also needed to be given the right to independence: “I long to hear that you have declared an independency – and by the way in the new Code of Laws which I suppose it will be necessary for you to make I desire that you would Remember the Ladies, and be more generous and favorable to them than your ancestors. Do not put so much 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 bound by any Laws in which we have no voice, or Representation.” Adams also participated in boycotts and spinning bees, women recognized that colonists’ arguments against arbitrary British rule also applied to gender relations. John dismissed Abigail’s plea as another effort to extend rights and power to those who were unworthy: “As to your extraordinary Code of Laws, I cannot but laugh. We have been told our Struggle has loosened the bands of Government every where.” It was also said that if women were naturally dependent either as children subordinated to their parents or as wives to their husbands they still continued to dominate discussion of the female role. In Abigail’s bitter words, married women’s property remained, “subject to the control and disposal of our partners, to whom the law have given a sovereign authority.”
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Abigail Adams political argument was that of a Republican’s political view. Republican’s beliefs included: emphasis on individual freedom and rights, and equality under the law for all people. Adams wanted equality and to be seen as equals in comparison to men. She wanted women to be able to play a role other than a mother, and a wife. According Adams, the new Constitution was in the best interest of all Americans. This was the first step in establishing a new American Nation. Thus, it was a stepping stone to the ideas of republican motherhood.