Dearest Friend: A Life of Abigail Adams
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Rich with excerpts from her incomparable letters and alive with the ferment of a new nation, Dearest Friend is the first full biography of Abigail Adams, the unschooled minister's daughter who became the most influential woman in Revolutionary America.
none of her interest in politics. She and John wrote to each other weekly, if not more often, to exchange views on politics as well as domestic news. John described the debates in Congress and sent her the Philadelphia and New York newspapers with their detailed accounts of government proceedings. She reported local political opinion and expounded at length on her own views of political events. Not since the Continental Congress years had they written to each other so fully and so frequently.
Constantinople.” She particularly liked “Bennett’s Strictures,” which advocated better education for women, long one of her favorite causes. “He is ingenious enough,” she wrote John, “to acknowledge & point out the more than Egyptian bondage, to which the Female sex, have been subjugated, from the earliest ages.” Abigail acknowledged that great strides had been made in the improvement of women’s education in the years after the Revolution, although she noted that “much yet remains to be done.”
thing to resolve upon Retirement,” he added. Despite his occasional doubts, John thought himself clearly entitled to the presidency. If Washington chose not to continue as President, it seemed logical to John that he, as Vice President, should succeed to the highest office. He said as much to Abigail in terms that made him sound like the monarchist he was often accused of being: “I am Heir Apparent you know,” but the “French and the Demogogues intend I presume to set aside the Decent.” Later, he
she had good reason to wonder whether she would ever see her son again. Every week seemed to bring word of the death of another friend. Her own health was generally poor, although she was rarely too sick to be up and about, supervising her household and writing her letters. She increasingly felt the infirmities of age but on the whole she faced her last years calmly and cheerfully. She counted herself fortunate that she still had John, in remarkably good health despite his seventy-three years.
unimportant to her. Nor did she understand the reasons for the poverty she witnessed in England. She blamed moral vices that weakened the whole society and worried that Americans were heading in the same direction. “Deprecate that restless spirit,” she urged, “and that banefull pride ambition and thirst for power which will finally make us as wretched as our Neighbours.” Throughout the fall and winter Abigail thought mostly about going home. They would not leave until March, but innumerable