Abigail and John Adams’ Letters present an intellectual dialogue that stands for numerous accomplishes in the land of America. The letters spanned a half a century through embracing a government through politics, philosophy, religion, and social life of Adams, among others, in the American history. For instance in the period of American Revolution, from 1775 to 1783, American colonies fought against the Great Britain with the chief aim of forming an independent United States. During this period women enjoyed little public recognition and they solely relied on their husbands and fathers to represent them in public. John Adams, a lawyer, an essayist, second US president, political diplomat was a very influential figure throughout the American Revolution. This made him travel to Europe to negotiate peace talks with Great Britain. During his travel he focused on debating the political place of women via the correspondence that he maintained with his wife Abigail Adams. The focus of this essay is based on the political aspect of Abigail and John Adams’ Letters.
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To begin with, Abigail wrote a letter when John Adams was away attending the Continental Conference in support of American Independence. In her letter to Adams, she requested him to “remember the ladies” when establishing laws to guide the newborn nation. In 1776, Abigail wrote a letter to her husband and in her letter she told her husband that she desires that he remember ladies and be more generous and favorable to vulnerable women more that were initially left to handle domestic affairs. In her letter, she warned her husband John Adams not to put such unlimited powers in the hands of the husbands. In fact, all men are capable of becoming tyrants if they chose to and if they are given that opportunity. However, John Adams could not help but laughed at his wife’s letter that he referred to as “saucy letter”. In response to the letters by his wife and particularly this, he was not aware and did not realize that the wife had joined the long line of numerous American women who to assert the desire to fight for the rights of women. His wife, Abigail was amongst the first notable women after numerous efforts in women’s right fight because her voice would echo through the history of America. The words of Abigail in her letter to John Adams echoed in the fight by other women activists who believed in equal rights of both genders (Mary and Ruth 77).
Secondly, it is clear that the words of Abigail Adam’s came in the birth of America. During the American Revolution, political turmoil had swept both men and women in America and most of them were fighting for their fare share in the new born nation. They used language to proclaim liberty, freedom, equality, among other things. This was because all of these issues did not extend to all the America’s residence. More so women are the ones that felt the hypocrisy. They had to fight, although, through the few who were capable to speak publicly on such issues that acutely affected their hearts and minds (Mary 97). Just like many other women with similar spirit, Abigail Adams expressed her feelings through letters and though such letters many women got inspiration. Abigail as a white woman, she enjoyed the privileged of being familiar with the language of freedom as a luxury accorded to her by her station as she belonged to upper class. However, other women also expressed their sentiments through essays, journals, poems and other intellectual sources of enlightenment materials. This is because their education, which was known to fewer women during the time, enabled them to declare loyalty in regards to literary forms.
Nonetheless, women did not only express their patriotism through the above mentioned materials but also they showed it through being loyal to the revolution by participating in numerous boycotts and riots in protesting against the unfair British rule. This was a move that made numerous and prominent groups of women to organize their patriotism until a point of branding themselves, “Daughters of Liberty” (Mary 97). Most of these women did numerous things including holding meeting and making or spinning clothes to aid boycotts of British materials. These were very essential meetings that created numerous stuffs and messages that were later sent to other patriots. Such likeminded women came together to help shape the present America. In fact the letters were extremely instrumental since many women could now be able to fight just like the American men. The letters made the American women to be enlightened on numerous issues that made them temporarily put aside the Daughters of Liberty title. This gave several women the opportunity to spin their clothes without humiliation. This was one of the most important things ever created by these women in their fight.
Most women had been convicted to their home, but in the wake of these letters, less visible women demonstrated their strengths. Most women became capable of running family errands including family businesses. Since men were serving in Continental Army, women had to take charge after inspiration from the letters of Abigail to her husband. Letters written by Abigail were important in the sense that they made numerous women realize their potentials. In that regard, most women found themselves in able to do numerous things by the end of the war. Most women became enthusiastic about their masculine duties that they could now perform with ease (Wilma 88).
Politically, a significant number of women aided in the formation of the government by playing several roles in the military. Some of them served as cooks, laundresses, and nurses. In fact, these women served the country with a lot of dedication, although their efforts were unappreciated. For example, one woman who was really dedicated was Deborah Sampson, went ahead to distinguish herself as a man to get a position in the army. Surprisingly, under the guise of Robert Shurtleff, she disguised herself as a man to work together with men in the army. Sampson slept side by side with other male soldiers until the moment when Army physician unearthed her sex. This awarded her an honorable discharge from the General George Washington and thus receiving a distinction.
Wilma affirms that while Abigail Adams and Sampson fought in defending the new nation, other women had varied feeling or perspective about the war and America (87). For numerous women, the revolution created the possibility of becoming free at last. Most slaves women during the revolution were promised freedom if they decide to join the army to help in the fight. However, such promises remained elusive to the African Americans since many of them who ran to join the army in their fight found them back in bondage. This made African Americans to see little hope in the revolution because they were treated otherwise. Proclamation of equality of men hardly helped African American women and their communities. Numerous communities split on which direction to take, nonetheless, their decision made no difference as the war ended.
The most Significant Aspect about Abigail Adams’ letters to John Adams
Concerning the words of Abigail Adams, it is evident that the American Revolution did not make a significant change to American women. Obviously, the most evident group that did not benefit was the African Americans since they did not attain freedom and they did not secure homes. Adams letters were all aimed at ensuring that American women and people in general were guaranteed equality. Women needed to fight through the available means possible to ensure they are equal to men. Nevertheless, American politics did not change the lives of women so much, although, it played some roles in ensuring that they were enlightened to a certain level. Yet, Abigail and Adams’ letters and words did not have great impact on America in the late eighteenth century and in fact, it did not even change the position of her husband in regards to the position of women in the society (Wilma 87). Their letters did not change the literal meaning of the words “all men are created equal.”
To conclude, it is vital to note that the importance Abigail Adams’ and John Adams’ letters is clear in the larger scope of American history. Even though, Abigail Adams could be compared with other women who also fought during the same period, she remains a prominent since she was courageous to challenge the society that surrounded her. Furthermore, Abigail became a challenger of the male dominated world as both a woman capable to fight for the rights of women in making laws. Through the essay, we see Abigail confronting her husband not only as his wife but with his own language, the language of liberty. Sara (46) confirms that after Abigail received the mocking message from her husband in regards to her plea for American women, Abigail as a committed wife and liberator decides to confront her husband through the following words, as she predicts the course of history:
“But you must remember that arbitrary power is like most other things which are very hard, very liable to be broken – and notwithstanding all your wise Laws and Maxims we have it in our power not only to free ourselves but to subdue our Masters, and without violence throw both your natural and legal authority at our feet (Sara 54).”
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