A desk was recently discovered to have a letter inside of it written by Abigail Adams. This desk was donated to a Massachusetts historical society, and it contained paperwork from a lawyer who recently passed away. Abigail Adam’s letter was among the papers in the desk.
The correspondence between Abigail and her husband, John Adams, has been very much publicized in books and movies over the years. John–the second President of the United States–looked for guidance in his letters to his wife, who he would always call his “friend.”
In the letter that was recently found, Abigail writes to her husband about the rights of women. It is dated with the year 1788. This was right before she left for London to visit her husband during his ambassadorship. Her writings are close to a century and a half before women gained the right to vote.
She wrote: “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 foment a Rebellion, and will not hold ourselves bound by any Laws in which we have no voice, or Representation.”
The feminist views of this letter do not seem to be out of character for the first lady. She is one of the first to discuss women’s rights and suffrage, and was revolutionary for her time, and would still be considered radical with her views up until the early 1900s.
Abigail Adams is an essential part to women’s history and studies, according to one historian. The gender studies professor at the Clayman Institure for Gender Research at Stanford University, Edith B. Gelles, told the Boston Globe that “any Abigail Adams letter is a treasure” and that she is the “best record we have” of the lives of women during the American Revolution in the colonies.