Quotations by Adams, Abigail


If you complain of neglect of Education in sons, what shall I say with regard to daughters, who every day experience the want of it?

Abigail Adams (1744-1818) American correspondent, First Lady (1797-1801)
Letter to John Adams (14 Aug 1776)
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Patriotism in the female sex is the most disinterested of all virtues. Excluded from honors and from offices, we cannot attach ourselves to the State or Government from having held a place of eminence. Even in the freest countries our property is subject to the control and disposal of our partners, to whom the laws have given a sovereign authority. Deprived of a voice in legislation, obliged to submit to those laws which are imposed upon us, is it not sufficient to make us indifferent to the public welfare? Yet all history and every age exhibit instances of patriotic virtue in the female sex; which considering our situation equals the most heroic of yours.

Abigail Adams (1744-1818) American correspondent, First Lady (1797-1801)
Letter to John Adams (17 June 1782)
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We have too many high sounding words, and too few actions that correspond with them.

Abigail Adams (1744-1818) American correspondent, First Lady (1797-1801)
Letter to John Adams (1774)
Added on 1-Feb-04 | Last updated 1-Feb-04
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I am more and more convinced that man is a dangerous creature; and that power, whether vested in many or a few, is ever grasping, and, like the grave, cries, “Give, give!” The great fish swallow up the small; and he who is most strenuous for the rights of the people, when vested with power, is as eager after the prerogatives of government. You tell me of degrees of perfection to which human nature is capable of arriving, and I believe it, but at the same time lament that our admiration should arise from the scarcity of the instances.

Abigail Adams (1744-1818) American correspondent, First Lady (1797-1801)
Letter to John Adams (27 Nov 1775)
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And by the way, in the the new Code of Laws which I suppose it will be necessary for you to make I desire you would Remember the Ladies, and be more generous and favourable 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 foment a Rebellion, and will not hold ourselves bound by any Laws in which we have no voice, or Representation.

Abigail Adams (1744-1818) American correspondent, First Lady (1797-1801)
Letter to John Adams (31 Mar 1776)
Added on 22-May-15 | Last updated 22-May-15
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That your Sex are Naturally Tyrannical is a Truth so thoroughly established as to admit of no dispute, but such of you as wish to be happy willingly give up the harsh title of Master for the more tender and endearing one of Friend. Why, then, not put it out of the power of the vicious and the Lawless to use us with cruelty and indignity with impunity? Men of Sense in all Ages abhor those customs which treat us only as the vassals of your sex; regard us then as Beings placed by Providence under your protection, and in imitation of the Supreme Being make use of that power only for our happiness.

Abigail Adams (1744-1818) American correspondent, First Lady (1797-1801)
Letter to John Adams (31 Mar 1776)
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Years subdue the ardour of passion, but in lieu thereof a Friendship and affection deep Rooted subsists which defies the Ravages of Time, and will survive whilst the vital flame exists.

Abigail Adams (1744-1818) American correspondent, First Lady (1797-1801)
Letter to John Adams (7 Jan 1793)

John replied in his following letter, "I am, with all the Ardour of Youth, yours."

Added on 18-Nov-10 | Last updated 18-Nov-10
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Would that my ability was equal to my inclination.

Abigail Adams (1744-1818) American correspondent, First Lady (1797-1801)
Letter to John Quincy Adams (16 Feb 1786)
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These are times in which a genius would wish to live. It is not in the still calm of life, or in the repose of a pacific station, that great characters are formed. The habits of a vigorous mind are formed in contending with difficulties. Great necessities call out great virtues.

Abigail Adams (1744-1818) American correspondent, First Lady (1797-1801)
Letter to John Quincy Adams (19 Jan 1780)

Probable source of the similar "Great necessities call forth great leaders," usually cited (but not found) as a letter to Thomas Jefferson.
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I acknowledge myself a unitarian — Believing that the Father alone, is the supreme God, and that Jesus Christ derived his Being, and all his powers and honors from the Father. […] There is not any reasoning which can convince me, contrary to my senses, that three is one, and one three.

Abigail Adams (1744-1818) American correspondent, First Lady (1797-1801)
Letter to John Quincy Adams (5 May 1816)
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It is really mortifying, sir, when a woman possessed of a common share of understanding considers the difference of education between the male and female sex, even in those families where education is attended to …. Nay, why should your sex wish for such a disparity in those whom they one day intend for companions and associates. Pardon me, sir, if I cannot help sometimes suspecting that this neglect arises in some measure from an ungenerous jealousy of rivals near the throne.

Abigail Adams (1744-1818) American correspondent, First Lady (1797-1801)
Letter to John Thaxter (15 Feb 1778)
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If we do not lay out ourselves in the service of mankind whom should we serve?

Abigail Adams (1744-1818) American correspondent, First Lady (1797-1801)
Letter to John Thaxter (29 Sep 1778)
Added on 26-Jun-15 | Last updated 24-Jun-15
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I begin to think that a calm is not desirable in any situation in life. Every object is beautiful in motion; a ship under sail, trees gently agitated with the wind, and a fine woman dancing, are three instances in point. Man was made for action and for bustle too, I believe.

Abigail Adams (1744-1818) American correspondent, First Lady (1797-1801)
Letter to Mary Smith Cranch (1784)
Added on 24-Jul-15 | Last updated 24-Jul-15
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