Abigail Adams, Young, Portrait

Abigail Adams was the Second First Lady of the United States and felt very strongly about the role of women and minorities in society. This painting of Abigail was made by Benjamin Blythe in 1766. Image Source: Wikipeida.

Abigail Adams, Quotes from the First Lady and Advocate for Women's Rights and Abolition

November 22, 1744–October 28, 1818

Abigail Adams was the wife of John Adams, the second President of the United States, and the mother of the sixth President, John Quincy Adams. Her letters and memoirs of the Revolutionary era are considered to be major historical documents and show how she helped influence the American Revolution.

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Abigail Adams Famous Quotes

I long to hear that you have declared an independency. And in the new code of laws which I suppose it will be necessary for you to make, I desire you would remember the ladies, and be more generous and favorable to them than your ancestors.

— Abigail Adams, letter to John Adams, 1774.

I am more and more convinced that man is a dangerous creature and that power, whether vested in many or a few, is ever grasping, and like the grave cries, “Give, Give.”

— Abigail Adams, letter to John Adams, November 27, 1775.

Do not put such unlimited power into the hands of husbands. Remember all men would be tyrants if they could….If particular care and attention is not paid to the Ladies we are determined to foment a Rebellion, and will not hold ourselves bound by any Laws in which we have no voice, or Representation.

— Abigail Adams, letter to John Adams, March 31, 1776.

Great necessities call out great virtues.

— Abigail Adams, letter to John Quincy Adams, January 19, 1780.

Abigail Adams Important Quotes

As all Men of Delicacy and Sentiment are averse to Exercising the power they possess, yet as there is a natural propensity in Human Nature to domination, I thought the most generous plan was to put it out of the power of the Arbitrary and Tyranick to injure us with impunity by Establishing some Laws in our favour upon just and Liberal principles.

—Abigail Adams, letter to Mercy Otis Warren, April 27, 1776.

If we mean to have heroes, statesmen and philosophers, we should have learned women…If much depends as is allowed upon the early education of youth and the first principles which are instilled take the deepest root, great benefit must arise from literary accomplishments in women.

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— Abigail Adams, letter to John Adams, August 14, 1776.

I will never consent to have our sex considered an inferior point of light. Let each planet shine in their own orbit. God and nature designed it so—if man is Lord, woman is Lordess—that is what I contend for.

— Abigail Adams, letter to Eliza Peabody, her sister, July 19, 1779.

A little of what you call frippery is very necessary towards looking like the rest of the world.

— Abigail Adams, letter to John Adams, May 1, 1780.

What is it that affectionate parents require of their Children for all their care, anxiety, and toil on their accounts? Only that they would be wise and virtuous, Benevolent and kind.

— Abigail Adams, letter to John Quincy Adams, November 20, 1783.

The Boy is a Freeman as much as any of the young Men, and merely because his Face is Black, is he to be denied instruction?…I have not thought it any disgrace to my self to take him into my parlour and teach him both to read and write.

— Abigail Adams, letter to John Adams, February 13, 1797.

It has been some time since that I conceived of any event in this Life which could call forth feelings of mutual sympathy. But I know how closely entwined around a parent’s heart are those chords which bind the filial to the parental Bosom, and when snapped assunder, how agonizing the pangs of separation. I have tasted the bitter cup, and bow with reverence and humility before the great dispenser of it, without whose permission and overruling providence not a sparrow falls to the ground.

—Abigail Adams, letter to Thomas Jefferson after the death of his daughter, Polly, May 20, 1804.

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Citation Information

The following information is provided for citations.

  • Article Title Abigail Adams, Quotes from the First Lady and Advocate for Women's Rights and Abolition
  • Coverage November 22, 1744–October 28, 1818
  • Author
  • Keywords Abigail Adams Quotes, Famous Quotes, Quotes and Meaning, Founding Fathers Quotes, Freedom Quotes, Liberty Quotes, American Revolution Quotes, Short Quotes, Women's Rights Quotes, Abolition Quotes
  • Website Name American History Central
  • Access Date August 10, 2022
  • Publisher R.Squared Communications, LLC
  • Original Published Date
  • Date of Last Update July 3, 2022
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