Minicast Shownotes: Abigail Adams-Feminist?

Posted 16 March 2011 by

At the end of our full episode about Abigail Adams, we decided to leave talking about her legacy as a feminist for a mini-cast. We are going to be honest here– our goal is to get YOU to think about it and come to your own conclusions. Sometimes history is about the facts- history as science– but a lot of the time it is about the lens through which we look at the facts. This is one of those times.

This mini-cast contains a discussion where we view her legacy through our lenses.

One book that is out there is Portia: The World of Abigail Adams by Edith B. Gelles.

We talked about Abigail’s friendship with Mercy Otis Warren. Abigail befriended Mercy as most mothers do each other- talking about their children. They had a life long correspondence that broached many additional topics ( again, like a lot of Moms–it’s not ALL about the kids!)  Mercy wrote several plays and other anonymous works of Patriotic support. She did publish a book of poetry under her own name, as well as her most famous work, History of the Rise, Progress and Termination of the American Revolution.

Mercy Otis Warren by Copley

By Mary Otis Warren

Another woman who entered into our discussion is Mary Wollstonecraft. While this woman deserves an episode all of her own, we talked about her role as a contemporary  to Abigail Adams, as well as a true paver of the road to women’s equality. Mary wrote A Vindication of the Rights of Women, a book that was read by both Abigail and her husband, John.

Mary Wollenstonecrafts book that was read by Abigail Adams.

As promised, here is the link to read (and search) this book online at Bartleby.com :  http://www.bartleby.com/144/

We should add that Abigail’s husband John disagreed with Wollstonecraft’s political views, so much so that he took the time to write long criticisms of her opinions in the margins of his own copy of An Historical and Moral View of the Origin and Progress of the French Revolution.  He often called his wife  a “disciple of Wollstonecraft” when it came to her views of the roles of women – however, their copy of Vindication did not end up so very defaced.  

Regardless of her role in the feminist movement,  no one can argue that Abigail Adams was a strong, intelligent woman who had the vision of a better world for her family, for her country and for  all of humanity. Get your own lens and take a look at the legacy of this remarkable woman. Report back, we would love to hear what you think!