A report on womens rights in colonial America, using source documents.

Essay by roadjmUniversity, Bachelor'sA+, December 2003

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There were many groups demanding to protect, or reaffirm their rights along the path to drafting the Constitution, and the subsequent Revolutionary War that ensued. History has done much to call attention to the Northerners looking to abolish slavery, and put high tariffs on imports, and the Southerners looking to promote the slave trade, and reduce or eliminate tariffs on imports. The farmers, who were separated into the lowland, and backcountry factions, and a whole host of religious groups, attempting to practice without, or with Government intervention. A less publicized, but definitely discriminated group of settlers was also hoping to gain freedom in this new country, and that group was women.

Arguably the most outspoken of the women during the 1770's was Abigail Adams, the wife of John Adams. John Adams, who would be elected President in 1824, was a member of the Continental Congress in Pennsylvania in 1776.

During this time, Abigail Adams wrote several letters to her Husband, urging him to"remember the ladies" while they drafted their new "code of laws". A series of letters between John and Abigail Adams, were compiled from The Adams Family Correspondence, eds. L.H. Butterfield et al. (Cambridge: Belknap Press of Harvard University Press 1963), vol. I, 29-31. The following is the first of those letters written to John from Abigail on March 31, 1776. I can not paraphrase her feelings adequately, so with respect to Mrs. Adams, I copied her letter in its entirety.

"I long to hear that you have declared an independency, and by the way in the new Code of Laws which I suppose it will be necessary for you to make I would desire you would Remember the Ladies, and be more generous and favourable to them than your ancestors. Do not put such unlimited power...