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From Abigail Adams to John Adams—Letter

Below is part of a letter Abigail Adams wrote to her husband John Adams while he was away attending the Continental Congress. In it she writes about her hopes that the rights of women will be recognized by the new government.


Primary Source

Braintree March 31 1776

…I long to hear that you have declared an independancy—and by the way in the new Code of Laws which I suppose it will be necessary for you to make I desire you would Remember the Ladies, & be more generous & favourable to them than your ancestors. Do not put such unlimited power into the hands of the Husbands. Remember all Men would be tyrants if they could. If perticuliar care & attention is not paid to the Laidies we are determined to foment a Rebelion, and will not hold ourselves bound by any Laws in which we have no voice, or Representation.

Excerpt from a letter from Abigail Adams to John Adams. From the Adams Family Papers, Massachusetts Historical Society.


Background

John Adams was a patriot, and one of the men who helped edit the Declaration of Independence. John Adams and his wife, Abigail, wrote many letters to each other throughout their lifetime. In the spring of 1776, Abigail Adams wrote this letter to her husband, who was in Philadelphia for the Continental Congress. Writing from the family's farm, Abigail Adams asked her husband to give women more rights when he and the other members of the Continental Congress created a new government for the colonies. John Adams later became our nation's second President, with Abigail Adams as his First Lady.

Letters can be a useful source of information about people and events in the past. Letters written by important people are often saved in archives for historians to study. You may notice the unusual spelling of some of the words. At the time this letter was written, many words had several different spellings.


Web Resources

Massachusetts Historical Society
You can view an image of Abigail Adams's original letter on the Massachusetts Historical Society's Web site.
http://www.masshist.org/adams/apmanuscripts/AAtoJA1776Mar31p2.html