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Abigail Adams

Women in this country have struggled against unfair and unequal treatment for centuries—even before the American Revolution.  Abigail Adams, born in 1744, was keenly interested in education for women and for them to enjoy the same rights as men in the not yet formed country of America.  When her husband,  John Adams, set off to attend the Second Continental Congress and to support the revolution against British tyranny, she implored him to include women in the hoped for new freedoms.  On March 31, 1776, while he was attending the Congress, she wrote:

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 … Remember all Men would be tyrants if they could. If particular 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.

Her husband’s reply brushed aside her deeply held feelings with some apparent amusement.  The sting of the unfair treatment from Great Britain was enough for the men to declare war and independence, but they remained tone deaf to the everyday degradation of women.  It would be 72 years after the Revolution before women launched their own organized attempt to gain full citizenship and drastically changed our world.