Abigail Adams Biography

Abigail Adams Portrait
Abigail Smith Adams (1744-1818), First Lady to the second President of the United States and mother of the sixth, was one of the most respected and influential women of her time. As the closest adviser to her husband, John (1735-1826), and a strong influence on her son, John Quincy (1767-1848), Abigail’s impact at the center of American political power spans more than half a century. 
Born November 11, 1744, in Weymouth, Massachusetts, Abigail was educated at home, where she took advantage of the extensive library of her father, Reverend William Smith. At nineteen, she married the young, Harvard-educated lawyer John Adams and moved to Braintree (now Quincy). There, she raised the couple’s four surviving children and managed the farm and household, as John spent more and more time away from home in the service of the young country. Their correspondence during these separations, which encompasses more than 1,100 surviving letters exchanged from the days of their courtship through the end of John Adams’s presidency (1797-1801), provides a remarkable portrait of this Founding Father and Mother. Abigail died in Quincy on October 28, 1818.

Although not formally educated, Abigail was an intellectual whose ideas about government and politics helped shape the policies of her husband. Her strong advocacy for the rights of women makes her an important figure in American women’s history; she famously wrote, “If perticuliar care and attention is not paid to the Laidies we are determined to foment a Rebelion, and will not hold ourselves bound by any Laws in which we have no voice, or Representation.”