FEMINIST FRIDAY 2018

Since we are approaching the 4th of July I though I would share a brief biography of Abigail Adams.  Abigail is considered by many people to be the First Feminist First Lady.  The following quote from her is what inspired me to do some research.

“Do not put such unlimited power into the hands of husbands. Remember all men would be tyrants if they could. 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.”

The following article gives use good glimpse into Abigail’s life.  It was written by Bruce G. Kaufmann on October 30, 2013 and can be found at history lessons.net.

Abigail Adams – America’s First Feminist

Had there been a National Organization for Women in America in the late 18thCentury, Abigail Adams, the wife of our second president, John Adams, would have been a charter member.  The woman who once admonished her husband to “remember the ladies” when considering legislation in the Continental Congress was a firm believer in women’s rights, and she lived a life that proved it.

It was a life defined by the American Revolution, which, because its demands on her husband kept him away from home so often, only strengthened her independence, self sufficiency, and confidence that she was the equal of any man.  It was Abigail who ran the family farm while John was in Congress or representing America abroad.  That meant she was up before dawn, starting the fire, feeding the livestock, cooking the family meals and — because the war had shut down the schools — home schooling their children.

It was Abigail who also managed the family finances, and probably did a better job than John would have done.  Ignoring his advice to invest in land, for example, she bought public securities that eventually turned a fair profit.  Yes, the times being what they were, a man (her uncle) had to execute those financial transactions, but it was Abigail who made the decisions — and kept a share of the profits.

It was Abigail who also saw first-hand America at war, and did what she could to support it.  In her native Massachusetts the fighting was pervasive, with American soldiers regularly afoot, and she often invited them into her home to rest and take a light meal.  She even made musket balls for American rifles by melting pewter spoons in her fireplace.

And then, late at night, her work done, she would sit down and write her husband one of her many letters — the correspondence between John and Abigail was voluminous and touched on a wide range of subjects.  Abigail was a political junkie, constantly craving news of Congress’s activities and freely giving John political advice.   And in her letters to John she also regularly complained about the lack of women’s rights, including a woman’s inability to hold political office (a complaint that, back then, must have astonished John!).

In sum, she considered herself John’s equal partner, as proven by the fact that, years before she died, which she did this week (Oct. 28) in 1818, she wrote a will and testament, even though, technically speaking, she had nothing to bequeath because in those days all property in a marriage was legally the husband’s.

Abigail didn’t care, and it was hardly a surprise that most all of her bequests in that will went to the women in her family.

ABIGAIL ADAMS YOU ROCK!

Now, if you are in the mood for further reading, I give you Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez who Abigail Adams would have been very proud of.

Who Is Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez? A Democratic Giant Slayer

Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez with her campaign staff at her victory party in the Bronx on Tuesday night, after she defeated the incumbent Democratic representative, Joseph Crowley.David Dee Delgado for The New York Times

She has never held elected office. She is still paying off her student loans. She is 28 years old. “Women like me aren’t supposed to run for office,” Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez said in a viral campaign video released last month.

They certainly weren’t supposed to win.

But in a stunning upset Tuesday night that ignited the New York and national political worlds, Ms. Ocasio-Cortez, a Bronx-born community organizer and member of the Democratic Socialists of America, defeated Representative Joseph Crowley, a 19-year incumbent and Queens political stalwart who had not faced a primary challenger in 14 years.

Mr. Crowley, who is twice Ms. Ocasio-Cortez’s age, is the No. 4 Democrat in the House of Representatives and had been favored to ascend to the speaker’s lectern if Democrats retook the lower chamber this fall.

If Ms. Ocasio-Cortez defeats the Republican candidate, Anthony Pappas, in the predominantly Democratic district in November, she would dethrone Elise Stefanik, a Republican representative from Central New York, as the youngest person in Congress (Ms. Stefanik was 30 when she took office in 2015).

“I’m an organizer in this community, and I knew living here and being here and seeing and organizing with families here, that it was possible,” a visibly shocked Ms. Ocasio-Cortez said in an interview at her victory party on Tuesday. “I knew that it was long odds, and I knew that it was uphill, but I always knew it was possible.”

The daughter of a Puerto Rican mother and a Bronx-born father, Ms. Ocasio-Cortez earned a degree in economics and international relations from Boston University but worked as a waitress and bartender after graduation to supplement her mother’s income as a house cleaner and bus driver, according to The Intercept. Her father, a small-business owner, had died three years earlier of cancer; after his death, her family fought foreclosure and her mother and grandmother eventually moved to Florida.

She dabbled in establishment politics during college, working for Senator Edward M. Kennedy, Democrat of Massachusetts, on immigration issues, but soon turned her attention to the grass-roots work that would come to define her candidacy.

Returning to the Bronx after graduation, she began advocating improved childhood education and literacy, starting a children’s book publishing company that sought to portray her home borough in a positive light, according to a 2012 article in The New York Daily News. The importance of education had been instilled in her from a young age: As a child, she was sent to school in Yorktown in Westchester County because of the dearth of quality schools in the Bronx.

She returned to national politics when she worked as an organizer for the 2016 presidential campaign of Senator Bernie Sanders, independent of Vermont. But even then, the idea of one day seeking office herself seemed unattainable.

“I never really saw myself running on my own,” she told New York magazine this month. “I counted out that possibility because I felt that possibility had counted out me. I felt like the only way to effectively run for office is if you had access to a lot of wealth, high social influence, a lot of dynastic power, and I knew that I didn’t have any of those things.”

But if Ms. Ocasio-Cortez has, overnight, become the face of progressives’ hopes for ousting not only Republicans but also moderate Democrats who they see as insufficiently outraged about President Trump, her bid against Mr. Crowley predates the anti-Trump backlash that has fueled what many see as a “blue wave” across the country.

She has credited her decision to seek office with her experience protesting at the Standing Rock Sioux Reservation in 2016 against the Dakota Access Pipeline. Soon after, she was contacted by Brand New Congress, a newly formed progressive organization that asked her to run.

Ms. Ocasio-Cortez, who has called for Medicare for all, tuition-free public colleges and the abolition of the Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency, made her underdog status the central pillar of her upstart campaign.

In her bid against Mr. Crowley, she was unafraid to foreground race, gender, age and class. When Mr. Crowley sent a Latina surrogate to debate Ms. Ocasio-Cortez last week, citing scheduling conflicts, Ms. Ocasio-Cortez blasted him on Twitter for sending someone with a “slight resemblance to me.” She attacked Mr. Crowley for taking corporate money, for not living in the district and for looking increasingly unlike the constituents of the Bronx and Queens he was elected to represent.

“These communities have been so ignored,” she said in an interview with The New York Times earlier this month. “What other leaders or what other choices does this community even have? For me, I just feel like it’s a responsibility to show up for this community.”

She has joined activists in Flint, Mich., calling for safe drinking water, and traveled to the Mexican border this past weekend to protest family separations of migrants.

Like Mr. Sanders, Ms. Ocasio-Cortez made her rejection of corporate donations and reliance on small donors a rallying cry for supporters; nearly 70 percent of her campaign funds came from individual contributions under $200.

“Not all Democrats are the same,” she said in her May campaign video, adding — her voice rising with emotion — that a Democrat who “doesn’t send his kids to our schools, doesn’t drink our water or breathe our air cannot possibly represent us.”

“Congress is too old,” she told a reporter from the website Elite Daily. “They don’t have a stake in the game.”

Before Tuesday’s victory catapulted her to the front of the political conversation, Ms. Ocasio-Cortez seemed to find readier audiences with outlets such as Elite Daily, Mic or Refinery29 — websites most often associated with millennial and female audiences — than with national publications.

That is about to change.

“I’m hoping that this is a beginning,” Ms. Ocasio-Cortez said at her victory party on Tuesday. “That we can continue this organizing and continue what we’ve learned.”

Still, shock seemed to be the predominant emotion at Ms. Ocasio-Cortez’s party on Tuesday. “Oh my God, oh my God,” she said as she realized she had won, her hands flying to her mouth and her eyes widening. Throughout the night, as more and more people flooded into the packed Bronx pool hall, Ms. Ocasio-Cortez was trailed by a swarm of reporters, supporters and campaign staff clamoring for hugs, selfies or just a glimpse of the woman behind a feat many had considered impossible.

She added, “I hope that this reminds us of what the Democratic Party should be about, which is, first and foremost, accountability from the working-class people.”

Follow Vivian Wang on Twitter: @vwang3.

Shane Goldmacher and John Surico contributed reporting.

 

Please feel free to add a link in the comment section to one of your posts about an inspiring woman.

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About Bernadette

I live in the small town of Haddonfield, NJ. I am at an age in my life when I seem to spend time thinking and musing about life. These musings are usually stimulated by my walks through Haddonfield, my reading of books and fellow bloggers, and my interaction with my group of fabulous family and friends.

17 Responses

  1. Two incredible women, centuries apart, daring to stand up and be counted! I was taken by Abigail Adams when I read The Midwife’s Revolt by Jodi Daynard … her strength, loyalty, intelligence and perseverance shone through. Exciting times in the Bronx and you can see the astonishment in Ms. Ocasio-Cortez’s face!

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Thanks for introducing Abigail Adams. A strong woman, indeed, with much foresight. Unlimited power in the hands of men has currently set us on the path to our self-destruction as a species. Now, the men with power in our government are positioning to re-take control over female bodies. In doing so, they will have to deal with the young women of our times who are not the same as their mothers and grandmothers. Just ask Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez!

    Abigail and Alexandria you rock!

    Liked by 2 people

  3. I had the pleasure of listening to a feature on Alexandria as I drove from here to not Eternity but rather Framingham this morning. She is one savvy lass and deserves all the praise and all the support this country (not just her electeted constituency) can afford her and more than some to spare. Abigail Adams I did not know much about and I am really grateful for this portrait of a true feminist … a woman who refused to allow her gender to stop her from being interested, interesting, engaged and engaging and who, were she alive now would be doing exactly what Ms Ocasio-Cortez is setting out to do. Representing the masses with fairness, being fearless in the face of bigotry and overturning the notion that more money means a greater chance. Yes, Medames you certainly DO rock and you, Bernadette do as well.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Wonderful article about these two women with such strength and determination.
    Abigail Adams taking this strong role when most women accepted
    the old male dominated ways. She definitely stands out, fighting for women
    with such bravado.
    Yes, Abigail would have liked the election of Alexandria from Bronx. What a fete!
    Bright young woman with strong ideals and no money backing. I am full of
    admiration. Her stunned face is something to remember.😊 .

    Miriam

    Liked by 1 person

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