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Abigail Adams Colonial Women

Colonial women were denied many of the rights and privileges afforded to women in contemporary times, and even women in post-colonial and the Revolutionary eras. Women were largely viewed as the property of their husbands or fathers, many having arrived in Colonial America to marry a husband merely because he paid for their fare to get there. The ideal unity between man and wife was a whole that she melded her identity and energies into to become one him. Women were denied the right to preach religion, receive formal education, and their roles were largely relegated to that of wife, mother, and housekeeper. During the Colonial era, women were not viewed as significant to the public sphere. As Margaret Nash (172) contends, “Prior to the Revolution, political leaders viewed the domestic realm as peripheral to public welfare, but afterward, they saw the home as pivotal to the fate of the republic.”

Despite such limitations on women in the Colonial era, there were many who refused to be limited to such confining roles. One very important influence on women that helped them carve out an ideology that would become known as Republican Motherhood, was the wife of the first vice-president (John Adams), First Lady to him as Second President, and mother of another president (John Quincy Adams). More than this, she was self-educated, worldly, and built from the hardy stock of New England Puritans that would help birth American culture. One of the most well-read women in America and one of the most influential as well, Adams’ experiences traveling domestically and abroad equipped her to be strong support for the first First Lady, Martha Washington, and as First Lady herself. More than this, Adams was progressive when it came to the rights and roles of women. She believed that education should be equal for girls and boys, women should have the right to preach, and she opposed slavery years before it b


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Abigail Adams Colonial Women. (1969, December 31). In Retrieved 22:26, November 30, 2021, from