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Abigail Adams: An American Woman / Edition 2

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780321043702
  • Publisher: Longman
  • Publication date: 7/30/1999
  • Series: Library of American Biography Series
  • Edition description: Older Edition
  • Edition number: 2
  • Pages: 240
  • Product dimensions: 4.90 (w) x 7.70 (h) x 0.50 (d)

Read an Excerpt

PREFACE:

Editor's Preface

The Europeans who crossed the Atlantic brought with them conventions about family life that endured long after their migration. Their children inherited beliefs and practices that defined the roles appropriate to each member; a network of communal institutions reinforced the pressures that induced each to play the assigned part. Religion, education, and the law sustained the expectations of what a father, a mother, a husband, a wife, and children should be and do. In 1776 the family of the New World was, in many ways, what it had been in the Old.

Yet the circumstances of life in a wilderness generated subtle forces of change. Though Massachusetts was several generations away from the frontier, it was more remote still from London and had developed in a fashion of its own, so that husbands, wives, and children in that province stood toward one another in a relationship not precisely the same as that in England.

Abigail Adams in her life exemplified what it meant to be a woman, an American, and a revolutionary of the transitional period between colonial status and independence. Her aspirations were not precisely the same as those either of her seventeenth-century ancestors or of nineteenth- and twentieth-century descendants. The role she defined for herself as a woman was that of a wife, but a role entirely the equal of her husband's —not the same but equal. As an American she discovered the uniqueness of her nation's ideas, conventions, and habits of behavior by contrast with those of the women of London and Paris. And as participant in the Revolution she explored the meaning of the ways in which the new woman of the NewWorld would stand beside its new man. Articulate and introspective, she recorded in detail the exciting incidents that crowded her long life. Her records provided the materials for this book.

Professor Akers was fortunate in his choice of a subject; Abigail Adams was fortunate in a biographer whose sensitive account brings her to life.

Oscar Handlin

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Table of Contents

Editor's Preface
I You May Take Me 1744-1764 1
II An Important Trust 1764-1774 19
III Remember the Ladies 1774-1776 35
IV Bereft of My Better Half 1776-1778 53
V Patriotism in the Female Sex 1778-1784 69
VI The Amaizing Difference 1784-1785 91
VII I Will Not Strike My Colours 1785-1788 105
VIII In Their Proper Sphere 1788-1792 125
IX Tellegraph of the Mind 1792-1797 143
X Fellow Labourer 1797-1798 163
XI What I Cannot Remedy 1798-1801 181
XII The Mother of Such a Son 1801-1818 201
A Note on the Sources 221
Acknowledgments 231
Index 233
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Preface

PREFACE:

Editor's Preface

The Europeans who crossed the Atlantic brought with them conventions about family life that endured long after their migration. Their children inherited beliefs and practices that defined the roles appropriate to each member; a network of communal institutions reinforced the pressures that induced each to play the assigned part. Religion, education, and the law sustained the expectations of what a father, a mother, a husband, a wife, and children should be and do. In 1776 the family of the New World was, in many ways, what it had been in the Old.

Yet the circumstances of life in a wilderness generated subtle forces of change. Though Massachusetts was several generations away from the frontier, it was more remote still from London and had developed in a fashion of its own, so that husbands, wives, and children in that province stood toward one another in a relationship not precisely the same as that in England.

Abigail Adams in her life exemplified what it meant to be a woman, an American, and a revolutionary of the transitional period between colonial status and independence. Her aspirations were not precisely the same as those either of her seventeenth-century ancestors or of nineteenth- and twentieth-century descendants. The role she defined for herself as a woman was that of a wife, but a role entirely the equal of her husband's —not the same but equal. As an American she discovered the uniqueness of her nation's ideas, conventions, and habits of behavior by contrast with those of the women of London and Paris. And as participant in the Revolution she explored the meaning of the ways in which the new woman of theNewWorld would stand beside its new man. Articulate and introspective, she recorded in detail the exciting incidents that crowded her long life. Her records provided the materials for this book.

Professor Akers was fortunate in his choice of a subject; Abigail Adams was fortunate in a biographer whose sensitive account brings her to life.

Oscar Handlin

Read More Show Less

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Sort by: Showing 1 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted March 22, 2000

    The Ultimate Political Wife

    Professor Akers's Abigail Adams is a definitive portrait of the strong-minded, independent, and intelligent wife of John Adams. In a time that required little in politics of the women of her class, Abigail comes through as a strong advocate for and poltical advisor to her husband. She was an inveterate correspondent and left a record testifying to the value of her advice to a circle of high-placed friends. This new edition of Abigail takes an excellent biography up a notch with revisions that only add to its importance as the primary book on Abigail.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
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