Historically preserved letters from Abigail Adams give the modern world an intimate portrayal of life and politics in young America. We hope you enjoy these Abigail Adams quotes.
Abigail Adams was born in 1744 in Massachusetts. She was educated at home and by age 11 had read every book in the family library. At the age of 19, she married John Adams who would later become the second president of the United States.
Due to the political nature of his work, John was often away from home, and he and Abigail corresponded frequently through letters. Abigail was very outspoken about her political beliefs and is famous for reminding John to “remember the ladies” when he and the other founding fathers wrote the declaration of independence.
Abigail considered a woman’s letters to be private, however, after her death, her grandson, Charles France Adams, published her collection, creating a legacy that would go down in history.
Don’t forget to also read these John Quincy Adams quotes on voting, leadership & democracy.
Abigail Adams quotes about education and intelligence
1. “I’ve always felt that a person’s intelligence is directly reflected by the number of conflicting points of view he can entertain simultaneously on the same topic.” — Abigail Adams
2. “These are the times in which a genius would wish to live.” — Abigail Adams
3. “The habits of a vigorous mind are formed in contending with difficulties.” — Abigail Adams
4. “Learning is not attained by chance, it must be sought for with ardor and diligence.” — Abigail Adams
5. “Great learning and superior abilities…will be of little value and small estimation unless virtue, honor, truth, and integrity are added to them.” — Abigail Adams
6. “My bursting heart must find vent at my pen.” — Abigail Adams
7. “Wisdom and penetration are the fruit of experience, not the lessons of retirement and leisure.” — Abigail Adams
If you’re enjoying these quotes, read our collection of retirement quotes, celebrating the end of your professional career.
Abigail Adams quotes about power
8. “Among all the causes which degrade and demoralize men, power is the most constant and most active.” — Abigail Adams
9. “Let your observations and comparisons produce in your mind an abhorrence of domination and power, the parent of slavery, ignorance, and barbarism, which places man upon a level with his fellow tenants of the woods.” — Abigail Adams
10. “A people fired … with love of their country and of liberty, a zeal for the public good, and a noble emulation of glory, will not be disheartened or dispirited by a succession of unfortunate events. But like them, may we learn by defeat the power of becoming invincible.” — Abigail Adams
11. “Deliver me from your cold phlegmatic preachers, politicians, friends, lovers, and husbands.” — Abigail Adams
12. “I am more and more convinced that man is a dangerous creature.” — Abigail Adams
13. “What is the history of mighty kingdoms and nations, but a detail of the ravages and cruelties of the powerful over the weak?” — Abigail Adams
14. “Arbitrary power is like most other things which are very hard, very liable to be broken.” — Abigail Adams
Abigail Adams quotes about family and happiness
15. “What is it that affectionate parents require of their Children; for all their care, anxiety, and toil on their accounts? Only that they would be wise and virtuous, Benevolent and kind.” — Abigail Adams
16. “Heaven grant me that I may thus rejoice in my children, thus see them ornaments to their Country, and blessings to their parents.” — Abigail Adams
17. “Many of our disappointments and much of our unhappiness arise from our forming false notions of things and persons.” — Abigail Adams
18. “No one is without their difficulties, whether in High, or low Life, & every person knows best where their own shoe pinches.” — Abigail Adams
19. “May your mind be thoroughly impressed with the absolute necessity of universal virtue and goodness, as the only sure road to happiness, and may you walk therein with undeviating steps.” — Abigail Adams
20. “I hope some future day will bring me the happiness of seeing my family again collected under our own roof, happy in ourselves and blessed in each other.” — Abigail Adams
Abigail Adams quotes about women’s rights
21. “If particular care and attention is not paid to the ladies, we are determined to foment a rebellion, and will not hold ourselves bound by any laws in which we have no voice, or representation.” — Abigail Adams
22. “Do not put such unlimited power into the hands of the Husbands.” — Abigail Adams
23. “I desire you would Remember the Ladies, and be more generous and favorable to them than your ancestors.” — Abigail Adams
24. “Remember all Men would be tyrants if they could.” — Abigail Adams
25. “If we mean to have Heroes, Statesmen, and Philosophers, we should have learned women.” — Abigail Adams
26. “If much depends as is allowed upon the early Education of youth and the first principals which are instilled take the deepest root, great benefit must arise from literary accomplishments in women.” — Abigail Adams
If you’re enjoying these quotes, make sure to check out our collection of international Women’s Day quotes celebrating womanhood.
27. “Men of sense in all ages abhor those customs which treat us only as the vassals of your sex.” — Abigail Adams
Abigail Adams quotes about kindness and peace
28. “Dark and sour humours, especially those which have a spice of malevolence in them, are vastly disagreeable. Such men have no music in their souls.” — Abigail Adams
29. “The reins of government have been so long slackened, that I fear the people will not quietly submit to those restraints which are necessary for the peace and security of the community.” — Abigail Adams
30. “But let no person say what they would or would not do since we are not judges for ourselves until circumstances call us to act.” — Abigail Adams
31. “Is it possible that he whom no moral obligations bind, can have any real Good Will towards Men?” — Abigail Adams
32. “Great difficulties may be surmounted by patience and perseverance.” — Abigail Adams
33. “A patriot without religion in my estimation is as great a paradox as an honest Man without the fear of God.” — Abigail Adams
34. “We have too many high-sounding words and too few actions that correspond with them.” — Abigail Adams
35. “My Dear Son… remember that you are accountable to your Maker for all your words and actions.” — Abigail Adams
36. “It is not in the still calm of life, or the repose of a pacific station, that great characters are formed.” — Abigail Adams
37. “Great necessities call out great virtues.” — Abigail Adams
38. “When a mind is raised and animated by scenes that engage the heart, then those qualities which would otherwise lay dormant, wake into life and form the character of the hero and the statesman.” — Abigail Adams
More Abigail Adams quotes
39. “It’s never too late to get back on your feet though we won’t live forever make sure you accomplish what you were put here for.” — Abigail Adams
40. “To be good, and do good, is the whole duty of man comprised in a few words.” — Abigail Adams
41. “A people may let a king fall, yet still remain a people, but if a king let his people slip from him, he is no longer a king.” — Abigail Adams
42. “History is not a web woven with innocent hands.” — Abigail Adams
43. “When men know not what to do, they ought not to do they know not what” — Abigail Adams
44. “I acknowledge myself a unitarian – Believing that the Father alone, is the supreme God and that Jesus Christ derived his Being, and all his powers and honors from the Father.” — Abigail Adams
45. “There is not any reasoning which can convince me, contrary to my senses, that three is one, and one three.” — Abigail Adams
46. “Posterity who are to reap the blessings will scarcely be able to conceive the hardships and sufferings of their ancestors.” — Abigail Adams
47. “If we expect to inherit the blessings of our Fathers, we should return a little more to their primitive Simplicity of Manners.” — Abigail Adams
48. “How difficult the task to quench the fire and the pride of private ambition, and to sacrifice ourselves and all our hopes and expectations to the public weal! How few have souls capable of so noble an undertaking!” — Abigail Adams
49. “I begin to think, that a calm is not desirable in any situation in life. Man was made for action and for bustle too, I believe.” — Abigail Adams
50. “What is meat for one is not for another – no accounting for fancy.” — Abigail Adams
Did you learn anything from these Abigail Adams quotes?
Abigail Adams is known for being one of only two women to have been both a wife and mother to a president (the other being Barbara Bush). Her husband, John Adams was the second President of the United States, and her son, John Quincy Adams was the sixth president.
But that doesn’t mean her legacy was simply being a woman associated with powerful political figures. Abigail herself was very influential. She was outspoken about her political beliefs and an advocate for women’s rights and education as well as the abolition of slavery in a time when these topics were considered quite divisive.
Her lifelong correspondence with her husband and other pen pals, such as Thomas Jefferson, about life, politics, and other current affairs, have given historians a priceless view into what life in America looked like at the beginning stages of the country.
We hope you enjoyed these Abigail Adams quotes and sayings. Let us know which quote was your favorite in the comments below.
January 25, 2021 7:00 AM EST