Intelligent, dedicated partner to Mr. Adams, and strong, wise mother to their children. Her support and advice sustained him throughout their marriage until her death in 1818.
A friend to Thomas Jefferson, too, she moved from appreciation of him, to adoration, to disappointment, distrust, and finally disillusionment.
Her “secret” correspondence with Jefferson after the death of his daughter Maria (Polly) at age 25 brought neither resolution nor satisfaction to either Abigail or Jefferson. There were regrets and anger that would later all be washed away in reconciliation.
She is the great source of John Adams’s sense of personal rightness-with-the-world. Their letters are insightful and important, and present an intimate view into a successful American marriage of the early Republic era. Their correspondence is also illustrative of their love and support for one another; it is clear that they are a couple that belonged together.
One wonders if there would have been a John Adams – without his Abigail beside him.