Abigail Adams was the wife of President John Adams and the mother of John Quincy Adams, who became the sixth president of the United States.
Throughout President John Adams’ career, his wife, Abigail Adams, served as an unofficial adviser and their letters show him seeking her counsel on many issues, including his presidential aspirations. Abigail remained a supportive spouse and confidante after her husband became the president in 1797, and her eldest son, John Quincy, would become president 7 years after her death in 1825. Some critics objected to Abigail’s influence over her husband, calling her “Mrs. President.” The Adams became the first residents of the White House. Abigail Adams wrote many letters to family around this time, shedding light on the early days of the new capital.
The couple agreed on political issues such as the Alien Acts of 1798. The three alien acts were aimed at immigrants increasing the waiting period for naturalization, allowing the government to detain foreign subjects, and permitting the deportation of any alien deemed dangerous.
Abigail was known for advocating an education in the public schools for girls that was equal to that given to boys. Yet, she herself had no formal education. She was taught to read and write at home, and she also homeschooled her children. She was given access to the extensive libraries of her father and maternal grandfather, taking a special interest in philosophy, theology, Shakespeare, the classics, ancient history, government and law.
She stopped to inspect a New Jersey federal army encampment and even reviewed the troops, reporting a bit sheepishly to the President that, “ I acted as your proxy.” She gave them permission to call a light infantry volunteer regiment “Lady Adams Rangers.”
Abigail had such an influence that towards the end of the Adams Administration, there were Anti-Federalist newspaper editorials which attacked President Adams for his choice of some foreign appointees saying it was evidence that his more politically astute wife was clearly not in the capital at the time of his decision because the President would not dare to make such a nomination if she were in the capital.
John and Abigail’s Letters, a historical documentation.