navigation bar Houghton Mifflin Social Studies United States History: Early Years
Biographies Unit Biographies

Abigail Adams 1744–1818
Writer and First Lady

In 1774, Abigail Adams said good-bye to her husband, John Adams. He was leaving for the First Continental Congress in Philadelphia. She was staying at their farm in Braintree, Massachusetts. For most of the next ten years, she and her husband lived apart. While he helped lead the new nation, she raised their children and ran the household and farm. She was a very skillful manager.

Abigail and John Adams wrote to each other often. She also wrote letters to Thomas Jefferson, Mercy Otis Warren, and many others. Adams's letters reveal that she had a strong interest in politics and knew a lot about government and the events of her time. John Adams valued her opinion and discussed every issue and decision with her.

Although women were not allowed to take part in government, Abigail Adams played an important role as First Lady when her husband became the President of the United States. She was an adviser to her husband. Her letters give today's readers a close-up view of the Revolution, politics, and everyday life in early America.

Comprehension Check

What did Abigail Adams do during the Revolution?

Critical Thinking

In what way might Abigail Adams's life have been different if women had had the right to participate in government during her lifetime?