Treatment of women and their role in society have always been controversial issues and popular topics for discussion. Despite the numerous challenges and discrimination that women have faced in the course of history, they managed to succeed in various fields. Charles Akers book Abigail Adams: A Revolutionary American Woman also suggests that women have distinct roles in society and always achieve extraordinary results. The author writes an account of Abigails life, which is quite extraordinary and points to the significant social and political developments of that time (Akers 10). This paper aims to summarize Akers work and analyze its role in literature and society as a whole.
A Revolutionary American Woman
Born in 1744 to Elizabeth Quincy Smith and William Smith, Abigail was the second of four children. Elizabeth came from a prominent family that had been public officials, landowners, and merchants. William Smith also came from a prosperous family. He was an ordained minister at the North Parish Congregational Church in Weymouth, Massachusetts. Abigails family lived in a cozy house that had been well furnished with enough room for kids, visiting relatives, and servants (Akers 8).
Abigail’s father worked and supervised both the parsonage farm and the one he had acquired in the northern part of Boston. He planted corn, potatoes, and barley, managed the care of many sheep, and gathered hay. Akers emphasizes the theme of hard work among women.
Although John Adam began to court Abigail towards the end of 1761, he had known her father as early as 1759 (Akers 4). The book outlines how a family can at one point be an obstacle to a woman’s dreams and desires of her heart. For instance, the Quincy family and the Smiths had earlier considered John to be an unworthy suitor. He, however, managed to overcome their objections. Abigail got married to John on October 25, 1764, and together they had five children. Their first child Abigail Nabby was born in 1765. The second child John Quincy was born in 1767 (Akers 54). Quincy was named after Abigails grandfather who died two days after the birth of the child.
The power of a woman is much evident in the book when the author speaks of how a woman can manage most of the domestic chores in the absence of her husband. John Adams, Abigails husband, was a lawyer with a flourishing practice. Sometimes he had more cases than he could handle. He would attend court sessions in quite some cities of Massachusetts, which included Boston. Later, John became a member of the continental congress and, as a result, he was frequently absent from his home in Braintree. At the time of his absences, Abigail had to have the sole responsibility for the household finances, the farm, and the family as a whole. She had to become an astute manager.
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Interestingly, Abigail breaks all the odds when she plays roles that no one could expect of a woman such as her to perform. She changes the image of women in society and how they are perceived by many, especially their male counterparts. During John’s prolonged absences, he and Abigail exchanged numerous letters, which demonstrate her feelings towards politics, religion and women. Abigail thought that the relationships between sexes ought to be reciprocal. That means that males should be accountable for their obligations and females for theirs (Akers 42). She also believed that women need to have an extensive educational background, property rights and opportunities to be assertive without being pushy or disrespectful in any way.
Abigail felt that women needed to be highly educated and that they should be both moral and ethical creatures in order to help their husbands and be able to shape the characters and minds of their children correctly (Akers 27). Abigail brought up John Quincy Adams to become an extraordinary man. She also greatly helped to shape both her husbands and sons political views.
Akers continues to strengthen his point on how a woman can sacrifice a lot for a person she loves. A woman can go further to carry the perfect cross when the head of the house is not around. After the end of the Revolutionary war, John became frequently absent from home once again due to court cases. Later on, Abigail got a massive blow when John was appointed by Congress as a commissioner to represent the United States in France. John Quincy joined his father while Abigail had to stay at home with the rest of her children. Abigail did not see her husband for four years, and she did not see John Quincy, her son, for one and a half years (Akers 18). John returned to Braintree, MA in August of 1779 after he had finished his commission (Akers 12). A short while afterward, he got actively involved in the work of the Massachusetts constitution convention. There, John helped in framing the documents that would later become the 1787 federal law. However, he could not stay at home for too long. In 1779, Adam was once again chosen by the Congress as a sole minister to negotiate peace with Great Britain. This time round he took two of his sons with him, John Quincy and Charles, who was nine years old. John and his two boys lived in Paris and occasionally made trips all over Europe.
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The book highlights how a woman can undergo perseverance without limits. This is what people call the strength of a woman. It is widely believed that ladies can never persevere for that long in such situations. However, the essay tries to prove this wrong. John had always wanted Abigail to accompany him, but she was afraid of the long sea voyage. However, in 1784 Abigail left for Paris, where she lived for nine months with her family before they moved to England. At this time, John had become the first US minister at the Court of St James’s.
At the time of their stay in Europe, Abigail was able to become more knowledgeable about matters concerning politics, food, and fashion. This was excellent preparation for her role as a wife to the very first vice president of the United States of America and, later on, the second president. When elected as president John Adams chose to live in Philadelphia, which was the capital at the time. Later on, in 1800, Adam moved to Washington DC with his family. Abigail became the very first woman in the presidents’ house that came to be known as the White House(Akers 13). She became an extraordinary first lady. She was very astute politically and very educated. She had a great influence on her husband’s way of thinking in ways that cannot be underrated. In 1818, Abigail suffered from typhoid fever and passed away. She did not live to see her son elected president.
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In conclusion, Akers work plays a vital role in resolving peoples confusion regarding the role of women in society. Many believe that they are not capable of sacrifices or doing anything meaningful. Abigail Adams was a courageous, hard-working woman. She was a revolutionary, an activist, and a woman that substantially engaged in building America as a nation. Abigail pushed limits of what could be accomplished by women without causing any offense. She campaigned for womens education and pioneered several womens roles in the American Revolution and the newly formed Republic. In any event, Abigail Adams: A Revolutionary American Woman uses extensive research to paint a vivid image of an extraordinary and hardworking woman and member of society.