These Abigail Adams quotes will help you succeed in presidential style!
(If you’re in a hurry, just skip the short description of Abigail Adams' life and scroll down to Abigail Adams Quotes.)
Abigail Adams (1744-1818) 2nd First Lady of the United States
Abigail was the wife of U.S. President John Adams, the second U.S. president.
Girls didn’t receive a formal education back in those days, but Abigail learned to read and write at home. By her adult life, she became one of the best-read women of her time.
Abigail and her husband loved each other deeply, and Abigail regarded him as her dearest friend. She gave birth to six children in 10 years, but tragically her youngest baby was stillborn. Their son, John Quincy Adams, became the sixth U.S. President.
John Adams sought Abigail's advice on countless matters. Her wisdom is preserved in the many frank and vivid letters she sent him when they were parted because of his work. (In all, they exchanged more than 1,100 letters, which is why you can read so many Abigail Adams quotes.)
Abigail also steered their farm and family finances through challenging and dangerous times when John was away. This was one capable lady!
When her husband was elected President of the United States, Abigail became the first First Lady to live in the White House. She was so politically active—unusual for a woman even now, and particularly for those days—her political opponents called her “Mrs. President.”
ABIGAIL ADAMS QUOTES
Now you've read something of the Abigail Adams biography, these quotes by Abigail Adams are bound to inspire you!
Abigail Adams quote on action
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 quotes on adversity
May justice and righteousness be the stability of our times, and order arise out of confusion. Great difficulties may be surmounted by patience and perseverance.
These are times in which a Genius would wish to live. It is not in the still calm of life, or the repose of a pacific station, that great characters are formed. Would Cicero have shone so distinguished an orator, if he had not been roused, kindled and enflamed by the Tyranny of Catiline, Millo, Verres and Mark Anthony? The Habits of a vigorous mind are formed in contending with difficulties. All History will convince you of this, and that wisdom and penetration are the fruits of experience, not the Lessons of retirement and leisure. Great necessities call out great virtues. When a mind is raised, and animated by scenes that engage the Heart, then those qualities which would otherwise lay dormant, wake into Life, and form the Character of the Hero and the Statesman.
Abigail Adams quotes on America
We have too many high-sounding words, and too few actions that correspond with them.
Really we are a most ungrateful people, favoured as we have been with peculiar Blessings and favours, to make so poor returns. With the best opportunities for becoming a happy people, and all the materials in our power, yet we have neither skill nor wisdom to put them together.
I most sincerely wish that some more liberal plan might be laid and executed for the Benefit of the rising Generation, and that our new Constitution may be distinguished for encouraging Learning and Virtue. If we mean to have Heroes, Statesmen and Philosophers, we should have learned women. The world perhaps would laugh at me and accuse me of vanity, But you, I know, have a mind too enlarged and liberal to disregard the Sentiment. If much depends, as is allowed, upon the early education of youth, and the first principles which are instill'd take the deepest root, great benefit must arise from literary accomplishments in women.
Abigail Adams quotes on character
How much more merciful God than man.
Luxury, that baneful poison, has unstrung and enfeebled her sons.
Deliver me from your cold phlegmatic preachers, politicians, friends, lovers and husbands.
He who is unable to live in society, or who has no need because he is sufficient for himself, must be either a beast or a god.
Those who do not scruple to bring poverty, Misery, Slavery and Death upon thousands will not hesitate at the most diabolical crimes.
The Wife of a Farmer must look well to the Ways of her Household, and neither eat the Bread of Idleness herself, or permit others to.
Abigail Adams quotes on education
Learning is not attained by chance, it must be sought for with ardour and diligence.
I regret the trifling, narrow, contracted education of the females of my own country.
I must study Politics and War that my sons may have liberty to study Mathematics and Philosophy. My sons ought to study Mathematics and Philosophy, Geography, natural History, Naval Architecture, navigation, Commerce and Agriculture, in order to give their Children a right to study Painting, Poetry, Music, Architecture, Statuary, Tapestry and Porcelain.
I have always thought it of very great importance that children should in the early part of life be unaccustomed to such examples as would tend to corrupt the purity of their words and actions, that they may chill with horror at the sound of an oath, and blush with indignation at an obscene expression. These first principals which grow with their growth and strengthen with their strength neither time nor custom can totally eradicate.
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.
Quotes by Abigail Adams to her husband
A little of what you call frippery is very necessary towards looking like the rest of the world.
‘Tis ten days I believe since I wrote you a Line, yet not ten minutes passes without thinking of you.
Do not grieve, my friend, my dearest friend. I am ready to go. And John, it will not be long. (Just before Abigail’s death)
Five weeks have past and not one line have I received. I had rather give a dollar for a letter by the post, though the consequence should be that I eat but one meal a day for these three weeks to come.
The thought of being driven from my own Habitation at this time is more distressing than ever. If I had only myself to look after it would be less anxiety to me; if you hear of our being invaded this way, I think you must return. I used to have courage, but you cannot wonder at my apprehensions when you consider my circumstances. I can but poorly walk about (the) House. However I am not of an over-anxious make; I will trust in providence that I shall be provided for.
Abigail Adams quote on intelligence
I've always felt that a person's intelligence is directly reflected by the number of conflicting points of view he can entertain simultaneously on the same topic.
Abigail Adams quotes about power
History is not a web woven with innocent hands. Among all the causes which degrade and demoralize men, power is the most constant and most active.
I cannot say that I think you very generous to the Ladies, for whilst you are proclaiming peace and good will to men, emancipating all nations, you insist upon retaining an absolute power over wives. But you must remember that arbitrary power is like most other things which are very hard, very liable to be broken—and notwithstanding all your wise laws and maxims we have it in our power not only to free ourselves but to subdue our masters, and without violence throw both your natural and legal authority at our feet.
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 quote about racism
Mr. Faxon is attacking the principle of Liberty and equality upon the only Ground upon which it ought to be supported, an equality of Rights. The Boy is a Freeman as much as any of the young Men, and merely because his Face is Black, is he to be denied instruction? How is he to be qualified to procure a livelihood? Is this the Christian principle of doing to others, as we would have others do to us?
Abigail Adams quotes about service
If we do not lay out ourselves in the service of mankind whom should we serve?
I consider it as a sacrifice to my Country and one of my greatest misfortunes (for my husband) to be separated from my children at a time of life when the joint instructions and admonition of parents sink deeper than in more mature years.
How difficult the task to quench the fire and the pride of private ambition, and to sacrifice ourselves and all our hopes and expectations to the public weal! How few have souls capable of so noble an undertaking! How often are the laurels worn by those who have had no share in earning them! But there is a future recompense of reward, to which the upright man looks, and which he will most assuredly obtain, provided he perseveres unto the end.
Abigail Adams quote on slavery
I wish most sincerely there was not a slave in this province. It always appeared a most iniquitous scheme to me—to fight ourselves for what we are daily robbing and plundering from those who have as good a right to freedom as we have.
Abigail Adams quotes for women
Knowledge is a fine thing, and mother Eve thought so; but she smarted so severely for hers, that most of her daughters have been afraid of it since.
Patriotism in the female sex is the most disinterested of all virtues. Excluded from honours 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.
I long to hear that you have declared an independency. And by the way, in 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 (were). 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.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.