How does Abigail Adams exemplify the traits of Republican Motherhood?

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The concept of Republican Motherhood was developed during the American Revolution. According to this concept, in order to have a strong republic, the nascent United States needed empowered, educated, and virtuous women to prepare their children to be the patriots of the next generation. In many ways, Abigail Adams was...

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The concept of Republican Motherhood was developed during the American Revolution. According to this concept, in order to have a strong republic, the nascent United States needed empowered, educated, and virtuous women to prepare their children to be the patriots of the next generation. In many ways, Abigail Adams was the quintessential exemplar of republican motherhood.

For starters, during the American Revolution, her husband, John Adams, was away from home for very long periods. This meant that it was up to Abigail to run the family household and estate in her husband's absence. She proved quite capable of the task throughout John's time away. While this was a difficult task for Abigail, she took it in stride, confiding to her husband that patriots had to make sacrifices and endure hardships for their country.

Republican motherhood put a lot of emphasis on raising patriotic and virtuous children. Since early childrearing was left almost exclusively to mothers at the time, virtuous and educated mothers were needed to raise virtuous and educated children. Abigail made sure that all five of her children were well-read and learned to be informed and independent thinkers. One of her sons, John Quincy, went on to be a president himself.

Republican motherhood put a lot of emphasis on a wife's role as a positive influence on her husband. Abigail Adams took an active role in shaping her husband's views on building a new nation. She was particularly vocal in expressing her views on women's rights, education, and general notions of liberty.

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Abigail Adams is seen as an example of the ideals of Republican Motherhood because she tried to educate her children both morally and in terms of political and societal concerns.  She also advocated for the idea that women should be allowed to get more education.  She argued that this was important because women were going to become (as the ideas of Republican Motherhood said they would) the teachers of the next generation of youth.  She believed that women needed to be educated in order to properly educate their offspring.

An example of Adams advocating for women's education can be seen in the following quote from the historytools.org link.  Here, she is saying that educated women are the ones best placed to properly educate the young:

If much depends as is allowed upon the early
education of youth and the first principals which are instilled take the deepest root, great benefit
must arise from literary accomplishments in women.

In addition to advocating for women's education, Adams educated her own children to be good people and good citizens, just as the ideals of Republican Motherhood said she should.

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