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Abigail Adams


Abigail Adams

During the Revolutionary War in March 1776, Abigail Adams wrote to her husband John Adams, who was one of the revisers and signers of the Declaration of Independence, stating, “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 favorable to them than your ancestors. Do not put such unlimited power into the hands of the husbands.” However, John Adams replied in April 1776, “As to your extraordinary code of laws, I cannot but laugh…Depend upon it, we know better than to repeal our masculine systems.” The Declaration of Independence (written beginning in June 1776 stated “All men are created equal” and did not mention women’s rights.

In 1777 women lost the right to vote in New York, in 1780 women lost the right to vote in Massachusetts, and in 1784 women lost the right to vote in New Hampshire. Furthermore, women in all states except New Jersey lost the right to vote in 1787 when the Constitutional Convention placed voting qualifications in the hands of the states. From 1775 until 1807, the state constitution in New Jersey permitted all persons worth over fifty pounds to vote; free black people and single women therefore had the vote until 1807, but not married women, who could have no independent claim to ownership of fifty pounds (anything they owned or earned belonged to their husbands by law).

Abigail Adams – Eminent Women

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Abigail Adams among the eminent women.

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