Abigail Adams got the last word

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Abigail Adams got the last word.

Wife and mother to U.S. presidents John Adams and John Quincy Adams, Abigail earned her own place in history through her prolific letter writing, her strong stand against slavery and her equally passionate advocation for women’s rights, especially in finance.

An astute financier herself, during a time when women were not allowed to own property, Abigail invested what she called “her own pocket money” in government and war bonds. Not only did the bonds pay an excellent rate of return, they also allowed her to keep the money from being considered “tangible property” and, therefore, her husband’s under the law.

By some reports, Abigail earned 400% on her investments, which she used to help other women in need, including her own sister.

She also managed the household finances for her husband, who was often away from the family farm as he pursued a political career in Philadelphia and abroad. Abigail oversaw a very busy household that included her own six children (two of whom died in infancy), several nieces and nephews and even, for a time, Thomas Jefferson’s daughter Maria “Polly” Jefferson.

The Adams had a well-documented happy marriage, despite the geography that often separated them. Their letters to each other provide a clear view of a husband who relied heavily on his wife’s sound counsel.

Abigail herself was reluctant to release those letters to the public during her lifetime as the political landscape was particularly fractious at the time, but her grandson later released all 1,200 of them. They don’t just provide valuable insight into the mindset of the influential Adams family, they also offer an almost play-by-play documentation of those revolutionary times.

In her last act as an advocate and savvy investor, Abigail, who died of Typhoid at age 73, wrote a will that left the majority of her possessions to her female relatives.

You can read a copy of her very specific and fascinating will here.