Tag Archives: john adams

Abigail Adams: Founding Woman

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Abigail Adams by Benjamin Blythe, 1766

Abigail Adams by Benjamin Blythe, 1766 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

In history classes, the American children learned about the Founding Fathers, the political leaders who participated in the American Revolution and established the United States Constitution. They learn about George Washington, John Adams, Thomas Jefferson, James Madison, Alexander Hamilton, and Benjamin Franklin… but why aren’t they taught about the Founding Women? The women who raised these men to become leaders and the wives of these men who gave them advice and the daughters of these men who took care of them as they grew old? It is because women worked behind the scenes, while the men gained all the glory. When 1,200 letters of the correspondence between President John Adams and Abigail Adams were found, it was discovered that John depended on his wife to take care of the house, the children, and he depended on her for advice.

Abigail Smith was born on November 22, 1744 in Weymouth, Massachusetts. Like many women at that time, Abigail never received formal education, however, her mother taught her and her sisters how to read and write. Abigail fell in love with reading, a trait that John Adams loved about her. The two married in 1764 and lived in Braintree, Massachusetts. When John’s law practice grew, he moved the family to Boston and traveled as a circuit judge, leading Abigail to take care of the four children.

In 1774, John went to Philadelphia to serve as his colony’s delegate to the First Continental Congress. At home, Abigail was appointed by Massachusetts Colony General Court to question Massachusetts women who were charged by their word or action of remaining loyal to the British crown; this was Abigail’s first government position. Since John was away most of the time, the two kept in touch by sending letters to each, 1,200 letters in fact. Through these letters, John usually asked for Abigail’s opinion and advice. She wrote to her husband requesting that he “Remember the Ladies, and be more generous and favorable to them than your ancestors. Do not put such unlimited power into the hands of the 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 formant a Rebellion, and will not hold ourselves bound by any Laws in which we have no voice, or Representation.” Sadly, the men did forget about the women.

In 1784, Abigail left her family, friends, and farm to join John at his diplomatic post in Paris. In 1785, she became wife of the first United States Minister to Great Britain. They returned to Massachusetts in 1788. When John Adams became Vice-President, she helped Martha Washington entertain guests in Philadelphia, the nation’s capitol at that time. When John became president, Abigail missed his inaugural ceremony in 1797 because she was talking care of his sick mother. Besides entertaining guests as the First Lady, Abigail was taking care of her 3-year-old granddaughter since her son, Charles, died from Alcoholism in 1800. As the First Lady, her controversial quotes and private letters, stolen from the mail system, were published in the newspapers. She was nicknamed “Mrs. President” because her advice asked her advice on everything, which at the time was amusing because a man asking a woman for help was not common. When John failed to become president for a second term, Abigail was happy to be done with the public life. The two finally were able to enjoy each other’s company until she died on October 28, 1818.

Abigail Adams, like many women at the time during the Revolutionary War, had to take care of the family and home while her husband was away during wartime. Since John was a politician, he was hardly ever home, leaving Abigail to raise the children. One of the children, John Quincy Adams, would become one of the greatest politicians of all time, including one term as President. Since his father was gone most of his childhood, it was Abigail ensuring that John and the rest of the children were educated. For John to ask his wife for advice concerning national and international affairs meant that Abigail was intelligent. Though he was teased for it, their relationship showed that the two truly loved each other for they trusted and listened to each other. John Adams and John Quincy Adams are considered two of the greatest politicians of American History thanks to Abigail’s guidance as a wife and mother.

Sources:

Abigail Smith Adams

First Lady Biography: Abigail Adams

Abigail Adams. biography

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Oklahoma Fails to Separate Church from State

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Oklahoma State Capitol

Oklahoma State Capitol (Photo credit: StevenM_61)

On November 16th, a 2,000 pound block describing the Ten Commandments was installed on the grounds of the Oklahoma State Capitol. Representative Mike Ritze (R) sponsored the “Ten Commandments Monument Display Act” which states that the Ten Commandments found in the Bible are “an important component of the moral foundation of the laws and legal system of the United States of America and of the State of Oklahoma.” Is he trying to suggest that Oklahoma is controlled by the bible? Because if he is, he did not take high school government since the First Amendment (a law that Oklahoma should actually be following) states that “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof.” The law clearly states that the government cannot make a law establishing a religion, yet Oklahoma created a religious monument and placed in on government grounds. Also, in the Treaty of Tripoli, sent to the Senate by President John Adams, is written that “The government of the United States is not, in any sense, founded on the Christian religion.” Once again, a founding father points out how the United States is not founded on the Christian religion.

Though the Ten Commandments do have some good laws, like how one should not murder someone else, it also forbids people from believing in other gods. Seeing how this statement is sitting a few feet from the Capitol, it can make other religions feel uneasy, as though Oklahoma may possibly create laws from the Christian religion. As Ryan Kiesel, executive director of American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) of Oklahoma, claims that when “legislatures set up a monument that seems to put one faith above others, it creates an environment where some visitors will feel like second-class citizens.” Another problem is what will happen when other religious start creating laws that support their religious laws to be shown at the Capitol grounds also? If the laws pass, a nice Scientology monument may be the next monument to share space on the Capitol grounds.

At the moment, ACLU has not begun to sue Oklahoma for violating the separation of state and government but the Liberty Legal Foundation promises to represent Oklahoma at no cost. The Liberty Legal Foundation also led legal challenges to President Barack Obama’s place of birth – in other words, Oklahoma will be represented by a bunch of crazies. This is just more proof that Oklahoma is wrong to place religious text on government property.

The fact that there was an actual law about this monument also shows how politicians are wasting their time. Instead of actually trying to help the people, they are wasting time and money creating religious monuments. The tax payers did not pay for the monument since it was raised through private donations and the Ritze family; the fact that people were willing to spend $10,000 to put a bunch of ancient laws near the capitol is insulting to Christians. In the bible, it is mentioned how important donating to the less fortunate are, but people actually thought a historical symbol depicting ancient laws from another country were important. That money could have gone to supporting education, helping the homeless, saving the rain forest; but instead, it went to a monument that contains scripture found in every hotel room in the United States.

Oklahoma’s Ten Commandments

Treaty of Tripoli

First Amendment

First Amendment Oklahoma