Abigail Adams Chapter Guide
Haley Young Dearest Friend: A Life of Abigail Adams Reading Journal Chapter 1: A Minister’s Daughter * Abigail was born to Reverend William Smith and his wife Elizabeth in Weymouth parsonage in Massachusetts. * She has two sisters, Mary and Betsey. The main point of this chapter was to showcase the religious, family-oriented background that Abigail was raised in. It explains why she is so focused on her family and John later in her life. It also explains her penname “Diana” and her love for literature and being involved in politics, after being taught to read at a young age.
Chapter 2: John * Abigail and John were married on October 25, 1764. The maim point of this chapter is to show the love developing between John and Abigail. The way they were not attracted to each other at first explains why they work together so well. They have different views on things so they balance each other out. Their love for each other also sets up their depression during their separation later in their lives. Chapter 3: Wife and Mother * Abigail and John had six children: Abigail, John Quincy, Susanna, Charles, Thomas, and Elizabeth (stillborn).
The main point of this chapter is to show the Adams family growing. Abigail’s deep connection to her kids at such a young age explains her sadness later on in her life when they are no longer with her, especially when her sons begin to leave home with their father to help with his politics and see the world. It also explains her connection to Nabby, since after Susanna and Elizabeth died young; Nabby was the only Adams daughter. Chapter 4: Politics * John elected representative to Massachusetts legislature, then later chosen as a delegate to the Continental Congress. Chapter 5: War Abigail had to raise her kids and deal with the family farm buy herself while John was away in Philadelphia. Chapter 6: Independence * Abigail used her influence over John to fight for women’s’ rights and representation during the drafting of the Constitution. * John was elected commissioner to France. Chapter 7: A Woman’s Sacrifice * While John was away in Europe, Abigail once again had to run her household on her own, which put her into a depression. Chapter 8: The Long Separation * After his commission to France, John was elected minister plenipotentiary which extended his stay in Europe.
Chapter 9: Years of Decision * While John was in Europe, Abigail couldn’t decide whether or not to join him, but when he was commissioned to negotiate a treaty of commerce with Great Britain, she and Nabby decided to go and join him in Europe. * Nabby fell in love with Royall Tyler so the trip was also to see if their love would last. Chapter 10: Europe * Abigail liked London because of the class but disliked Paris because she thought it was dirty and the people were rude. * The servants did less in Europe, so it was more expensive to run a household ,which frustrated Abigail. John was then appointed minister to London by congress. Chapter 11: “The Ambassadress” * Abigail was overwhelmed by the wealth of the royal court in London. * She and John were not used to the expenses of clothing, servants, and hosting dinners for other dignitaries. This was made even worse by the low salary John was being paid by Congress. Chapter 12: A Homesick American * In London, Abigail continued to miss American and her easy-going life in the countryside because she felt confined in the city in London.
Chapter 13: The Vice President’s Lady * After Europe, Abigail was sure that she wanted her husband to continue his political career. * In March of 1779, John was elected Vice President, so the whole Adams family moved to New York to serve with George and Martha Washington, the new president and first lady. * Once again, like London, Abigail had many social obligations to fulfill as the second lady of the United States. * Congress then moved the capital city to Philadelphia, so once again the Adams family had to move.
Chapter 14: An Interlude at Quincy * For John’s second term as Vice President, Abigail spent most of her time back in Braintree running the farm. * After her health scare while moving to Philadelphia, The Adams family didn’t want to risk her getting even more sick. * In 1796, George Washington announced he would not serve a third term as president, which made people speculate that John would succeed him. John would have to run against Thomas Jefferson in order to do so. Chapter 15: Mrs. President * John’s election made Abigail nervous.
John was not as widely supported as Washington. * Abigail played a huge role in John’s presidency by expressing her opinions in politics, which was uncommon for a woman of the time. * While living in Philadelphia for John’s presidency, Abigail grew to enjoy the city. Chapter 16: “The Federal City”: * When John’s political career ended, Abigail returned to Quincy to a busy home full of her family. * Abigail soon set out for Washington, the new capital city, but when John was not reelected, they both returned.
Chapter 17: The Matriarch of Peacefield * With both John and Abigail back in Quincy, Abigail took right back to being the matriarch of the house and taking care of her numerous grandchildren. * Abigail enjoyed having her husband always with her, and helping to raise her small grandchildren while in retirement. Chapter 18: The Curtain Falls * On October 28, 1817, Abigail died after falling ill with typhoid fever, at age 73. * Abigail was able to die peacefully with most of her family around her.