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first ladies


            
             Massachusetts-born Abigail Smith inherited New England's potent traditions and continued to personify republican values until her death in 1818. She was a part of a prestigious, "major family network of Boston's South Shore"(Akers 3) and her father was a Congregational minister in a society that held its clergy in highest regard. Abigail didn't have formal education-like most women of her time, but her intelligence was fostered by the many books she read and was reflected in the two thousand letters she wrote throughout her life. Her vivid letters describe her life in times of Revolution and reflect the many roles that this woman undertook before and throughout her function as the second First Lady of United States. While remaining in the domestic sphere she struggled with wartime shortages and inflation, ran a farm with least of help and educated her four children when their formal education was interrupted. In 1784, she joined her husband at his diplomatic post in Paris, and recorded the differences and aspects of French culture in relation to the American. As wife of the first Vice President, Abigail became an esteemed aid in official entertaining, influenced and prepared by her experiences of courts and society abroad. As the first lady, she continued a formal pattern of entertaining despite the uncompleted President's house and the meager and often deficient conditions of the city that resembled wilderness rather than the new capital. After her death in 1818, she stands remembered as both a patriot and First Lady as well as an embodiment of a republican mother who gave birth to a future President.
             Mary Todd, like Abigail Adams came from a distinguished family of pioneer settlers of Kentucky and belonged to the aristocracy of Lexington, with exuberant social life and a firm private education. After her marriage, her role as a wife and a woman entailed greater responsibilities, hard work, a family of boys and diminished conditions, all which was new when compared to her previously comfortable life.


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