Abigail Adams and Barbara Bush Throughout history, there have been many monumental first ladies; two of which are Abigail Adams and Barbara Bush. These two women have influenced people of all ages during the time they were involved in the presidency. Although they are from two different time periods, the impact they left on Americans is the same. They have many similarities, not only politically but also in their everyday lives.
Abigail Smith Adams was born on November 11, 1744 in Weymouth, Massachusetts. She was the second child of Reverend and Elizabeth Smith. On her mother's side she was descended from the 17th-century Puritan preacher Thomas Shepard of Cambridge-a family of great prestige in the colony; her father and other forebears were Congregational ministers, leaders in a society that held its clergy in high esteem. Although she lacked a formal education, she read avidly the books at hand, including the Bible, history, and sermons, among other things.
Through her love of reading, she established a relationship with young John Adams. She married him in 1764 at the age of 19. (UMKC online) She became the second first lady in 1797 and she and her husband were the first couple to reside in the White House. In 1801, she and John retired to their home in Braintree, (now Quincy) Massachusetts. Abigail died in 1818, and is buried beside her husband in United First Parish Church. (whitehouse online) Barbara Pierce Bush was born to Pauline and Marvin Pierce in Rye, New York on June 8, 1925. She attended a boarding school at Ashley Hall in South Carolina, where she met George Bush, a senior at Phillips Academy in Andover, Massachusetts, at a dance during Christmas vacation when she was 16 years old. They became engaged just a year and a half later, just before he went off to war. After George returned on leave from the war, he and Barbara were married on January 6, 1945. They then went to Texas to start a family. Barbara became the 41st first lady in 1989. Today Barbara and George live in a home they built in Houston, Texas. (whitehouse online) Abigail Smith Adams was the mother of five children, Abigail Amelia Adams, John Quincy Adams, Susanna Adams, Charles Adams, and Thomas Boylston Adams. John Quincy Adams became the sixth President of the United States in 1825. (Sarri p.143) Barbara Bush is the mother of two daughters: Robin, who died in 1953 while fighting a battle with Leukemia, and Dorothy, and four sons, George Walker Bush, Jeb Bush, Neil Bush, and Marvin Bush. Her firstborn, George W. Bush, became the 43rd President of the United States. (whitehouse online) Both of these women gave birth to sons who would later become president, just as their fathers had. Both women also felt that family was a very important part of life.
Both women recorded important events in their life in order to educate people of the issues they feel are important. Abigail Adams wrote hundreds of letters in an excellent style that recorded the history of our young country and the many perils it faced. These letters detail her life in times of revolution. They tell the story of the woman who stayed at home to struggle with wartimes, to run the farm, and to teach children when formal education was not available. She was a vigorous letter writer, expressing her opinions both privately and publicly. (UMKC online) Barbara Bush presently resides at her home in Houston, Texas, working on her autobiography, "Barbara Bush: A Memoir"ÃÂ. This book emphasizes the importance of family, faith, and friends in Mrs. Bush's life. (vcmsuperconf online) Abigail Adams and Barbara Bush both treasured their relationship with their husband very much. They were both very involved in their husband's presidency from start to finish. John Adams served as vice president under George Washington from 1789 to 1797. He was then elected president and served from 1797 to 1801. (whitehouse online) Abigail Adams became a trusted and influential political advisor to her husband. She was ahead of her time with many of her ideas. (UMKC online) George Bush served as vice president from 1981 to 1989 and was then elected to the presidency from 1989 to 1993. (POTUS online) Both women had husbands who served as vice president for eight years and president for four years.
These women were very concerned with education. Although Abigail Adams lacked a formal education because girls weren't allowed to go to school at that time, her curiosity spurred her keen intelligence and she read the books that she had access to. When war conflicts prevented her children from going to school, she taught them at home whenever she had to. She believed in equal education for girls and boys, making sure that her own daughter received a good education. Barbara Bush is very concerned with family literacy. In 1990, she helped develop the Barbara Bush Foundation for Family Literacy whose mission is to support the development of family literacy programs; break the intergenerational cycle of illiteracy; and establish literacy as a value in every American family. She currently serves as honorary chair of the Foundation and hosts its annual fundraiser, "A Celebration of Reading."ÃÂ She also regularly undertakes a myriad of projects and a rigorous appearance schedule designed to emphasize reading as a part of daily family life. By visiting literacy programs across the country-in schools, housing projects, organizations, and businesses-she witnesses, first hand, the powerful impact reading has on self-esteem and family dynamics. (bushlibrary online) Another interesting fact I noticed about these two women while I was researching this report was the fact that both of their first and last names begin with the same letter. Obviously these two women share a lot in common.
Abigail Adams and Barbara Bush are two women that have greatly impacted our nation's citizens. They committed their time and energy to making the United States a better place to live. As I stated before, the lapse in time periods has obviously not made that much of a difference. They ultimately had the same ideals and morals, as well as some of the same interests. These two are great examples to women everywhere.
References 1) "Abigail Smith Adams, 1744-1818."ÃÂ Umkc.edu. Online.
2) "Biography of Abigail Adams."ÃÂ Whitehouse.gov. Online.
3) Sarri, Peggy. Colonial America- Primary Sources.
4) "Biography of Barbara Pierce Bush."ÃÂ Bushlibrary. Online.
5) "Former First Lady Barbara Bush."ÃÂ Vcmsuperconf. Online.
6) "Biography of Barbara Bush."ÃÂ Whitehouse.gov. Online.