ISBN-10:
0321043707
ISBN-13:
9780321043702
Pub. Date:
07/30/1999
Publisher:
Longman
Abigail Adams: An American Woman / Edition 2

Abigail Adams: An American Woman / Edition 2

by Charles W. Akers

Paperback

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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780321043702
Publisher: Longman
Publication date: 07/30/1999
Series: Library of American Biography Series
Edition description: Older Edition
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

Table of Contents

Editor's Preface.

1. "You May Take Me" 1744-1764.

2. "An Important Trust" 1764-1774.

3. "Remember the Ladies" 1774-1776.

4. "Bereft of My Better Half" 1776-1778.

5. "Patriotism in the Female Sex" 1778-1784.

6. "The Amazing Difference" 1784-1785.

7. "I Will Not Strike My Colours" 1785-1788.

8. "In Their Proper Sphere" 1788-1792.

9. "Telegraph of the Mind" 1792-1797.

10. "Fellow Labourer" 1797-1798.

11. "What I Cannot Remedy" 1798-1801.

12. "The Mother of Such a Son" 1801-1818.

A Note on the Sources.

Acknowledgments.

Index.

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

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