Do not put such unlimited power into the hands of husbands. Remember all men would be tyrants if they could.
Abigail Adams, the wife of John Adams, was a very bright woman, farmer and investor. She was a devoted partner to her husband, and showed her strength and independence at those times that he was required to leave her alone at their home farm called Peacefield in Massachusetts.
During her lifetime, she very much supported women’s rights and spoke to her husband about them, including the right to vote. Yet in the years of his governance, only limited rights were extended to women.
Since Abigail Adams’ relationship with her husband was just as much a partnership as a marriage, her quotation is puzzling at first. But I think I know her reasons for saying it.
She was telling women in those times that they must own their own power and not give all of it to their husbands. Men, the testosterone gender, felt powerful, and the culture gave most powers to them in marriage. It wouldn’t have occurred to most of those men that the power in a marriage was meant to be shared.
Women have come a long way. And yet there are cultural leftovers from a time when women had little to say about their choices, preferences or family decisions. I think Abigail may have been prescient in her statement since, to this day, I think many women still are inclined, whether they’ll admit it or not, to defer to their husbands in some ways. At the same time, our culture has browbeaten men so badly that I wouldn’t be surprised to learn that they harbor dreams of being tyrants in their marriages.
What do you think?