Abigail Adams played many different roles throughout her lifetime: devout Puritan, persevering feminist, adoring wife, devoted mother, influential political adviser, First Lady, and American. She was opinionated, very well-read (especially for a woman of her time), and extremely supportive of her husband and children. Abigail was a strong believer in the American cause and sacrificed years of her marriage for it, as well as years with her eldest son. She encouraged political activism and education.
Abigail Adams was born Abigail Smith on November 11, 1744 in Weymouth, Massachusetts. She was the second child of Elizabeth Quincy Smith and Reverend William Smith. Her older sister, Mary, was born in 1741 and they would remain close friends throughout their lives. Abigail also had a younger brother, William, born in 1746, and a younger sister, Elizabeth, born in 1750. Abigail's parents were very popular and well-respected in their town of 2,000. Rev.
William Smith was born in Boston and educated at Harvard. He was the pastor of Weymouth's North Parish Congregational Church and a part-time father, like most other men of the time. Elizabeth Quincy Smith was the daughter of a wealthy and prominent family from Braintree, Massachusetts and she traced her family's roots to New England's first settlers. As a child, Abigail often accompanied her mother on trips to visit the sick or needy members of the congregation. Abigail learned that it was the duty of the fortunate to take care of those in need and this lesson stuck with her throughout her life. Abigail's mother also taught her the "womanly arts" - cooking, sewing, housekeeping, nursing, and vegetable gardening.
Abigail never went to school or had any type of formal education. At the time, most schools didn't admit girls and education was not considered a priority for girls. One of...