Teach Your Kids About America's Past!

The Intellectual Devotional: American History, by David S. Kidder & Noah D. Oppenheim, is the exciting follow-up volume to their New York Times best-seller The Intellectual Devotional. The new book is a way to refresh your memory about our nation's history, and it is also a terrific teaching tool for your kids: accessible, fun, interesting, and a feast for the mind and soul! Read an entry a day (there are 365 in all) with your kids and enhance their education!

And be sure to check out iVillage's exclusive QA with author Noah Oppenheim!

Below, get a preview excerpt of one of the entries from The Intellectual Devotional: American History: the entry for the extraordinary Abigail Adams, wife of John Adams, second president of the United States.

Abigail Adams

Abigail Smith Adams (1744-1818), the daughter of a Massachusetts preacher, began exchanging love letters with lawyer John Adams (1735-1826) in 1762, when she was a sickly teenager. The long letters between Abigail and John, the work of two tender and playful souls, led to their marriage in 1764, when she was twenty and he was twenty-nine. For the rest of their fifty-four-year marriage, John and Abigail continued to trade thousands of notes and letters. Abigail's letters about politics, gardening, life in the White House, religion, and women's rights form an extraordinary trove for historians and a moving monument to the second First Lady of the United States.

Much like her famous husband, Abigail comes across in her letters as principled, witty, and occasionally sarcastic. Her most famous letter to John Adams was written on March 31, 1776, while he was in Philadelphia working on the Declaration of Independence. After inquiring about the proceedings at Philadelphia, Abigail went on to lambaste her husband and men in general:

 

 

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. Do not put such unlimited power into the hands of the Husbands. Remember all Men would be tyrants if they could. If perticuliar care and attention is not paid to the Laidies we are determined to foment a Rebelion, 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 ...

John Adams, in his sarcastic response mailed several days later, accused his wife of being "saucy," and said he planned to ignore her suggestions because they would lead to the "Despotism of the Petticoat". The letters continued for the next two decades, in huge torrents of loving prose, irate political arguments, and updates on the Adams family. The letters finally cease in 1801, when they retired, together, to Massachusetts.

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