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“Fascinating...Gelles has provided a balanced portrait, and her mastery of the period’s issues and history is evident on every page. Her treatment of the family... [is] written with understanding and sensitivity... But it is her strength as a feminist historian that makes her treatment of Abigail the most gripping... masterful and captivating.” — Washington Times “A landmark... Well-organized and expertly composed, the book is an impressive addition to the nation’s written history.” — Oklahoma City Oklahoman Readers who enjoyed Doris Kearns Goodwin’s No Ordinary Time, Cokie Roberts’s Founding Mothers, and David McCullough’s John Adams will love “this eminently readable… charming and sensitive, yet candid and unflinching joint biography” (Daniel Walker Howe, Pulitzer Prize-winning author of What Hath God Wrought: The Transformation of America, 1815-1848) of America’s original “power couple”: Abigail and John Adams.
During the many years that they were separated by the perils of the American Revolution, John and Abigail Adams exchanged hundreds of letters. Writing to each other of public events and private feelings, loyalty and love, revolution and parenting, they wove a tapestry of correspondence that has become a cherished part of American history and literature. With Abigail and John Adams, historian G. J. Barker-Benfield mines those familiar letters to a new purpose: teasing out the ways in which they reflected—and helped transform—a language of sensibility, inherited from Britain but, amid the revolutionary fervor, becoming Americanized. Sensibility—a heightened moral consciousness of feeling, rooted in the theories of such thinkers as Descartes, Locke, and Adam Smith and including a “moral sense” akin to the physical senses—threads throughout these letters. As Barker-Benfield makes clear, sensibility was the fertile, humanizing ground on which the Adamses not only founded their marriage, but also the “abhorrence of injustice and inhumanity” they and their contemporaries hoped to plant at the heart of the new nation. Bringing together their correspondence with a wealth of fascinating detail about life and thought, courtship and sex, gender and parenting, and class and politics in the revolutionary generation and beyond, Abigail and John Adams draws a lively, convincing portrait of a marriage endangered by separation, yet surviving by the same ideas and idealism that drove the revolution itself. A feast of ideas that never neglects the real lives of the man and woman at its center, Abigail and John Adams takes readers into the heart of an unforgettable union in order to illuminate the first days of our nation—and explore our earliest understandings of what it might mean to be an American.
A Companion to John Adams and John Quincy Adams presents a collection of original historiographic essays contributed by leading historians that cover diverse aspects of the lives and politics of John and John Quincy Adams and their spouses, Abigail and Louisa Catherine. Features contributions from top historians and Adams’ scholars Considers sub-topics of interest such as John Adams’ role in the late 18th-century demise of the Federalists, both Adams’ presidencies and efforts as diplomats, religion, and slavery Includes two chapters on Abigail Adams and one on Louisa Adams
This volume explores more than two centuries of literature on the First Ladies, from Martha Washington to Michelle Obama, providing the first historiographical overview of these important women in U.S. history. Underlines the growing scholarly appreciation of the First Ladies and the evolution of the position since the 18th century Explores the impact of these women not only on White House responsibilities, but on elections, presidential policies, social causes, and in shaping their husbands’ legacies Brings the First Ladies into crisp historiographical focus, assessing how these women and their contributions have been perceived both in popular literature and scholarly debate Provides concise biographical treatments for each First Lady
"When Harry Met Sally" is only the most iconic of popular American movies, books, and articles that pose the question of whether friendships between men and women are possible. In Founding Friendships, Cassandra A. Good shows that this question was embedded in and debated as far back as the birth of the American nation. Indeed, many of the nation's founding fathers had female friends but popular rhetoric held that these relationships were fraught with social danger, if not impossible. Elite men and women formed loving, politically significant friendships in the early national period that were crucial to the individuals' lives as well as the formation of a new national political system, as Cassandra Good illuminates. Abigail Adams called her friend Thomas Jefferson "one of the choice ones on earth," while George Washington signed a letter to his friend Elizabeth Powel with the words "I am always Yours." Their emotionally rich language is often mistaken for romance, but by analyzing period letters, diaries, novels, and etiquette books, Good reveals that friendships between men and women were quite common. At a time when personal relationships were deeply political, these bonds offered both parties affection and practical assistance as well as exemplified republican values of choice, freedom, equality, and virtue. In so doing, these friendships embodied the core values of the new nation and represented a transitional moment in gender and culture. Northern and Southern, famous and lesser known, the men and women examined in Founding Friendships offer a fresh look at how the founding generation defined and experienced friendship, love, gender, and power.
Winner of the Bancroft Prize The New York Times Book Review, Editor’s Choice American Heritage, Best of 2009 In this vivid new biography of Abigail Adams, the most illustrious woman of the founding era, Bancroft Award–winning historian Woody Holton offers a sweeping reinterpretation of Adams’s life story and of women’s roles in the creation of the republic. Using previously overlooked documents from numerous archives, Abigail Adams shows that the wife of the second president of the United States was far more charismatic and influential than historians have realized. One of the finest writers of her age, Adams passionately campaigned for women’s education, denounced sex discrimination, and matched wits not only with her brilliant husband, John, but with Thomas Jefferson and George Washington. When male Patriots ignored her famous appeal to "Remember the Ladies," she accomplished her own personal declaration of independence: Defying centuries of legislation that assigned married women’s property to their husbands, she amassed a fortune in her own name. Adams’s life story encapsulates the history of the founding era, for she defined herself in relation to the people she loved or hated (she was never neutral), a cast of characters that included her mother and sisters; Benjamin Franklin and James Lovell, her husband’s bawdy congressional colleagues; Phoebe Abdee, her father’s former slave; her financially naïve husband; and her son John Quincy. At once epic and intimate, Abigail Adams, sheds light on a complicated, fascinating woman, one of the most beloved figures of American history.
The second edition of A Woman's Dilemma: Mercy Otis Warren and the American Revolution updates Rosemarie Zagarri's biography of one of the most accomplished women of the Revolutionary era. The work places Warren into the social and political context in which she lived and examines the impact of Warren's writings on Revolutionary politics and the status of women in early America. Presents readers with an engaging and accessible historical biography of an accomplished literary and political figure of the Revolutionary era Provides an incisive narrative of the social and intellectual forces that contributed to the coming of the American Revolution Features a variety of updates, including an in-depth Bibliographical Essay, multiple illustrations, a timeline of Warren's life, and chapter-end study questions Includes expanded coverage of women during the Revolutionary Era and the Early American Republic
“Slack engagingly reveals how the Federalist attack on the First Amendment almost brought down the Republic . . . An illuminating book of American history” (Kirkus Reviews, starred review). In 1798, with the United States in crisis, President John Adams and the Federalists in control of Congress passed an extreme piece of legislation that made criticism of the government and its leaders a crime punishable by heavy fines and jail time. From a loudmouth in a bar to a firebrand politician to Benjamin Franklin’s own grandson, those victimized by the 1798 Sedition Act were as varied as the country’s citizenry. But Americans refused to let their freedoms be so easily dismissed: they penned fiery editorials, signed petitions, and raised “liberty poles,” while Vice President Thomas Jefferson and James Madison drew up the infamous Kentucky and Virginia Resolutions, arguing that the Federalist government had gone one step too far. Liberty’s First Crisis vividly unfolds these pivotal events in the early life of the republic, as the Founding Fathers struggled to define America off the page and preserve the freedoms they had fought so hard to create. “A powerful and engaging narrative . . . Slack brings one of America’s defining crises back to vivid life . . . This is a terrific piece of history.” —Jon Meacham, Pulitzer Prize–winning author of Thomas Jefferson
Abigail Adams was an unusually accomplished letter writer. Spirited and insightful, her correspondence offers a unique vantage on historical events in which her family played so prominent a role, while bringing vividly to life the everyday experience of American women in the eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries. Here are 430 letters—more than a hundred published for the first time—to John Adams, John Quincy Adams, Thomas Jefferson, Mercy Otis Warren, James and Dolley Madison, and Martha Washington, among many others. Including her famous call to “Remember the Ladies,” letters from the 1760s and 1770s offer an unrivalled portrait of the American Revolution on the home front. Travel to Europe in the 1780s opens a grand new field for her talents as social commentator and political advisor while her roles as vice presidential and presidential wife place her at the very heart of the nation’s founding. Also included are a chronology of Adams’s life, detailed notes, and extensively researched family trees. This volume is published simultaneously with John Adams: Writings from the New Nation 1784–1826, the third and final volume in the Library of America John Adams edition.
The Pulitzer Prize–winning, best-selling author of Founding Brothers and His Excellency brings America’s preeminent first couple to life in a moving and illuminating narrative that sweeps through the American Revolution and the republic’s tenuous early years. John and Abigail Adams left an indelible and remarkably preserved portrait of their lives together in their personal correspondence: both Adamses were prolific letter writers (although John conceded that Abigail was clearly the more gifted of the two), and over the years they exchanged more than twelve hundred letters. Joseph J. Ellis distills this unprecedented and unsurpassed record to give us an account both intimate and panoramic; part biography, part political history, and part love story. Ellis describes the first meeting between the two as inauspicious—John was twenty-four, Abigail just fifteen, and each was entirely unimpressed with the other. But they soon began a passionate correspondence that resulted in their marriage five years later. Over the next decades, the couple were separated nearly as much as they were together. John’s political career took him first to Philadelphia, where he became the boldest advocate for the measures that would lead to the Declaration of Independence. Yet in order to attend the Second Continental Congress, he left his wife and children in the middle of the war zone that had by then engulfed Massachusetts. Later he was sent to Paris, where he served as a minister to the court of France alongside Benjamin Franklin. These years apart stressed the Adamses’ union almost beyond what it could bear: Abigail grew lonely, while the Adams children suffered from their father’s absence. John was elected the nation’s first vice president, but by the time of his reelection, Abigail’s health prevented her from joining him in Philadelphia, the interim capital. She no doubt had further reservations about moving to the swamp on the Potomac when John became president, although this time he persuaded her. President Adams inherited a weak and bitterly divided country from George Washington. The political situation was perilous at best, and he needed his closest advisor by his side: “I can do nothing,” John told Abigail after his election, “without you.” In Ellis’s rich and striking new history, John and Abigail’s relationship unfolds in the context of America’s birth as a nation.
This volume affords a visual documentation of John and Abigail Adams' political career and exemplifies the work of the principal American portraitists.
Explores the unique partnership of American statesman John Adams and his wife Abigail, using excerpts from the couples letters.
The lively, authoritative, New York Times bestselling biography of Abigail Adams. This is the life of Abigail Adams, wife of patriot John Adams, who became the most influential woman in Revolutionary America. Rich with excerpts from her personal letters, Dearest Friend captures the public and private sides of this fascinating woman, who was both an advocate of slave emancipation and a burgeoning feminist, urging her husband to “Remember the Ladies” as he framed the laws of their new country. John and Abigail Adams married for love. While John traveled in America and abroad to help forge a new nation, Abigail remained at home, raising four children, managing their estate, and writing letters to her beloved husband. Chronicling their remarkable fifty-four-year marriage, her blossoming feminism, her battles with loneliness, and her friendships with Thomas Jefferson and James Madison, Dearest Friend paints a portrait of Abigail Adams as an intelligent, resourceful, and outspoken woman.
Wife of one president and mother of another, Abigail Adams was an extraordinary woman living at an extraordinary time in American history. A tireless letter writer and diarist, her penetrating and often caustic impressions of most of the major persons of her day--including Ben Franklin, George and Martha Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Alexander Hamilton, and King George III, among others--provide one of the best first-hand accounts of the American Revolution. This biography, researched and written over a fourteen-year period, is a fascinating portrait of a brilliant woman at the center of the founding of the American republic.
For readers of the historical works of Robert K. Massie, David McCulough, and Alison Weir comes the first biography on the life of Abigail Adams and her sisters. “Never sisters loved each other better than we.”—Abigail Adams in a letter to her sister Mary, June 1776 Much has been written about the enduring marriage of President John Adams and his wife, Abigail. But few know of the equally strong bond Abigail shared with her sisters, Mary Cranch and Elizabeth Shaw Peabody, accomplished women in their own right. Now acclaimed biographer Diane Jacobs reveals their moving story, which unfolds against the stunning backdrop of America in its transformative colonial years. Abigail, Mary, and Elizabeth Smith grew up in Weymouth, Massachusetts, the close-knit daughters of a minister and his wife. When the sisters moved away from one another, they relied on near-constant letters—from what John Adams called their “elegant pen”—to buoy them through pregnancies, illnesses, grief, political upheaval, and, for Abigail, life in the White House. Infusing her writing with rich historical perspective and detail, Jacobs offers fascinating insight into these progressive women’s lives: oldest sister Mary, who became de facto mayor of her small village; youngest sister Betsy, an aspiring writer who, along with her husband, founded the second coeducational school in the United States; and middle child Abigail, who years before becoming First Lady ran the family farm while her husband served in the Continental Congress, first in Philadelphia, and was then sent to France and England, where she joined him at last. This engaging narrative traces the sisters’ lives from their childhood sibling rivalries to their eyewitness roles during the American Revolution and their adulthood as outspoken wives and mothers. They were women ahead of their time who believed in intellectual and educational equality between the sexes. Drawing from newly discovered correspondence, never-before-published diaries, and archival research, Dear Abigail is a fascinating front-row seat to history—and to the lives of three exceptional women who were influential during a time when our nation’s democracy was just taking hold. Advance praise for Dear Abigail “In a beautifully wrought narrative, Diane Jacobs has brought the high-spirited, hyperarticulate Smith sisters, and the early years of the American republic, to rich, luminous life. . . . A stunning, sensitive work of history.”—Stacy Schiff, Pulitzer Prize–winning author of Cleopatra “Jacobs is a superb storyteller. In this sweeping narrative about family and friendship during the American Revolution, Abigail Adams emerges as one of the great political heroines of the eighteenth century. I fell in love with her all over again.”—Amanda Foreman, New York Times bestselling author of A World on Fire “Beauty, brains, and breeding—Elizabeth, Abigail, and Mary had them all. This absorbing history shows how these close-knit and well-educated daughters of colonial America become women of influence in the newly begotten United States. Jacobs’s feel for the period is confident; so is her appreciation of the nuances of character.”—Daniel Mark Epstein, author of The Lincolns: Portrait of a Marriage From the Hardcover edition.
Introduces the life of Abigail Adams, the wife of President John Adams, who was much more independent than many women of her time, running a farm in her husband's absence and speaking and writing about women's rights.

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