Bio of the Month John and Abigail Adams
BIOGRAPHY®: JOHN AND ABIGAIL ADAMS
- What was Adams’ family life like as a boy? What lessons did he learn from his father?
- Where did John go to college? What profession interested John coming out of college? What did John’s father want him to do after graduating?
- When did John begin to court Abigail? What role do you think his affection for her played in his early career?
- Why did John do a favor for the colonies by defending the soldiers involved in the Boston Massacre? Do you find his defending them slightly ironic? Why?
- How did Abigail continually inform John about the looming war? Why were her updates to him so significant?
- Do you think they made such a good team both personally and politically? How do you think Abigail influenced her husband’s political style and decision-making?
- What was Adams’ most pressing issue as the 2nd President? What did he decide to do regarding this issue? What were the repercussions politically for his decision?
- What were the Alien and Sedition Acts of 1798? What did Adams think of their ratification?
- What did Adams do after he retired from public life? Was he a well-respected immediately following his Presidency? Is he considered a well-respected President today?
- Why do you think John and Abigail’s partnership is considered one of the greatest marriages and one of the greatest political partnerships in American history?
The letters John and Abigail Adams exchanged are very important historical documents. Online or at the library, research their letters and choose one that you find particularly interesting. Then, write a 1-2 page essay describing the letter, its context, and what it reveals about life during this era.
One of Abigail Adams’ most well-known statements is “Remember the Ladies, and be more generous and favorable to them than your ancestors.” Although she was well-read and had many of her own ideas, Abigail was constrained by the limitations placed upon women during her era. Online or at the library, research the lives of women during the American Revolution and after. Then, write an editorial or letter from the perspective of Abigail Adams arguing for the political rights or roles she thought women should be granted.
This documentary highlights many of the letters John and Abigail Adams exchanged. Based on what you learned from watching this documentary, compose your own letter from John to Abigail or Abigail to John. Share these letters with your larger class or group.