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Comparison Between Abigail Adams’ Letter to Her Husband and Lydia Maria Child’s Letter XXXIV


Lydia Maria Child and Abigail Adams appear like some of the biggest names in American writing history. Although the two are different individuals, their writings have impacted American society, with each being viewed as iconic and with great extents of advocacy.

Lydia Maria Child is known for her advocacy for women’s rights and her anti-slavery movements. She was a famous writer and an abolitionist, who, together with her husband, were activists channelling their course to ending slavery at its peak during their time (Child & Karcher, 1997). During her writing career, she was able to write several books for children. Several people appreciated the books, and at some point, she was a literary sensation among the people familiar with her work. On a similar ground, Abigail Adams and her works do a lot of advocacy for women. Coincidentally, just like Child’s husband, extensively supports her course, so does John, the husband of Abigail Adams (Thelizlibrary.org, 2013). A review, comparison, and contrast of Abigail Adams (letter to her husband) and Lydia Maria (Child letter XXXIV) reveal quite an amount of similarities and minor differences, as well as cases indicating connection on courses of women advocacy.

In-depth understanding of the two letters, commonalities bring out elementary approaches that outstandingly compare just as Abigail Adams writes a letter, so does Maria Child. Abigail contests the demeaned position of women in society like Maria does. Again, Abigail argues against the overrated position of men in the society, providing evidence that even women are endowed with extraordinary abilities matching or sometimes overriding men’s. This is the same perspective adopted by Maria as she writes her letter XXXIV. In essence, Abigail writes in 1776 while Maria 1843 yet strikingly they seem to speak the same language and advocate for similar issues.

Comparison Between Abigail Adams' Letter to Her Husband and Lydia Maria Child's Letter XXXIV

Abigail Adams’ letter is directed to her husband, John Adams. It is a prayer over the new laws yet to be made as America comes into her independence. In this letter, Abigail implores John and the other members of the Continental Congress to give more consideration to the ladies and specifically award them more rights than has been in the past. In her justifications, Abigail presents arguments against the extraordinary powers awarded to men, indicating men’s potential (Thelizlibrary.org, 2013). She proceeds to indicate that women are prepared and determined to ferment a rebellion if they are denied the opportunities she requests. In an additional fit, she says that such an act will not be derailed or put under the pressure of accountability by-laws, in which she says ‘they have no voice or representation.’ On the final cry for women, she indicates that men are undisputedly tyrannical and would give up the master’s mentality against slave or servant only willingly. Thus, rescinding this power probably indicates the appreciation of women and accepting them as equal members of society rather than servants of sex and customary slave (Thelizlibrary.org, 2013).

On the considerations of Lydia Maria Child’s Letter XXXIV, she opens with an objection to how the subject of women has previously been treated. She terms the ideas with which women affairs are run and their guiding principles as ‘mawkish sentiment’ and ‘shallow philosophy’ (Child & Karcher, 1997). In casting men’s position against women, Child quotes that. In contrast, women may be considered ludicrous and improper in some kinds of proceedings, and men may also come out as ridiculous and disgraceful in the same (Child & Karcher, 1997). By quoting Maria Edgeworth, she indicates a beautiful nature in women than men may lack; that of learning and sums up that; truly, the great in the society should not proclaim themselves; but rather be seen by their acts. Developed into a genre, the Letters from New York, written by Child in columns as stories of newspaper, then appear to serve a very important function of communicating what originates from deep within the heart of the woman. In essence, there exists a large expression of social criticism advances of feminism (Child & Karcher, 1997).

Comparison and comparison of Letter to Her Husband by Abigail Adams and Letter XXXIV by Lydia Maria Child

A comparison of Abigail Adams’ Letter to Her Husband and Lydia Maria Child’s Letter XXXIV indicate an overwhelming amount of similarities related to the artists, theme,

tone, point-of-view, character, and setting. It is worth noting that issues like gender, gender struggle, history, religion, and politics receive a lot of coverage in both works by the two writers.

First, both the works are presented as letters that are all published. By identifying their letter genre, they probably attract more attention than if they were posted as ordinary articles or other forms of communiqués. It is further coincidentally notable that both authors are ladies, although the two publications’ timelines are separated by several decades.

From the two writings, it is quite evident that the society had previously looked down upon women. In sum, women feel oppressed and overrun by societal prejudiced views. Thus, Abigail Adams indicates when she requests a better position for women in the new society, that their men should ‘treat them better than their ancestors did’ (Thelizlibrary.org, 2013). Similarly, Maria Child opens her text by indicating that she detests the woman’s position by the society from which her opinion of societal maxims comes as ‘mawkish sentiment’ and ‘shallow philosophy.’ For this reason, the two write out to protest this position (Child & Karcher, 1997).

Assertiveness, determination, and conviction are yet other characters brought out in the women as by these letters. While Abigail indicates that they will press for a rebellion if they are denied what they view as rightfully theirs, she goes ahead to point out that accountability for such acts should not be entrenched in any law that does not recognize or represent them well (Thelizlibrary.org, 2013). When merged with the presentations of Child on the same, it is easily observable that not only do women feel oppressed but also have reached a point where they are determined to fight their best to overcome this.

Nonetheless, there appears to exist a misgiving, generalization, and fallacy against men. More strongly, Abigail posits that all men bear the potential of being tyrants. Not only does she present this as a supposition but proceeds to indicate that this position is undisputed. If one were to read John Adam’s response to her, the contrary arises. Yet, even in her letter, she presents a paradoxical position supposing that men still can willfully overcome this (Thelizlibrary.org, 2013). So is Child, supposing that all men are endowed with lesser learning abilities, yet implicating them in negativities like political fights that end in black eyes (Child & Karcher, 1997).

Two major themes that emerge in both letters are feminism and social criticism. To a wide extent, the theme of women’s oppression is merged with feminism as they advance the same courses for the benefit of women in both cases. Markedly, both Child and Abigail, analyze and criticize the societal principles that oppress women in detail. Yet, in both texts, advocacy is also one of the most outstanding issues.

In summary, the letters bring Abigail and Child as articulate, assertive, determined to achieve their course, and feministic. Although societal structures did not favor women traditionally, both the writers appear overly critical of men. Yet they both achieve the extent of eloquence that makes them deliver their information quite successfully.

  • Child, L. M., & Karcher, C. L. (1997). A Lydia Maria Child reader. Durham: Duke University Press.
  • Thelizlibrary.org (2013). LETTERS OF ABIGAIL ADAMS. [online] Retrieved from: https://www.thelizlibrary.org/suffrage/abigail.htm [Accessed: 30 Nov 2013].

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