What did Abigail Adams mean by "virtuous, republican"? And how was it different for men and women?

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  • “Republican Motherhood”

    Gate at Mt. Holyoke College, Massachusetts, founded by Mary Lyon. Lyon, Zilpah Grant, Judith Sargent Murray, and others educated in the years following the Revolution, opened the gates to further education for women.

    Women’s role in society was altered by the American Revolution. Women who ran households in the absence of men became more assertive. ABIGAIL ADAMS, wife of John, became an early advocate of women’s rights when she prompted her husband to “REMEMBER THE LADIES” when drawing up a new government.

    Pre-Revolutionary ministers, particularly in Puritan Massachusetts, preached the moral superiority of men. Enlightened thinkers rejected this and knew that a republic could only succeed if its citizens were virtuous and educated. Who were the primary caretakers of American children? American women. If the republic were to succeed, women must be schooled in virtue so they could teach their children. The first American female academies were founded in the s. This idea of an educated woman became known as “REPUBLICAN MOTHERHOOD.”

    As in the case of the abolition of slavery, changes for women would not come overnight. But the American Revolution ignited these changes. Education and respect would lead to the emergence of a powerful, outspoken middle class of women. By the mid nineteenth century, the SENECA FALLS DECLARATION on the rights of women slightly alters Thomas Jefferson’s words by saying: “We hold these truths to be self-evident; that all men and women are created equal…”

    “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’ letter to husband John, away at war, is filled with tenderness and a remarkable strength of purpose.

    Declaration of Sentiments

    From the Seneca Falls Convention on women’s rights in , the Declaration of Sentiments echoes the wording of the Declaration of Independence of a half-century before.

    Tea Parties and Sewing Circles

    The Boston Tea Party was a man’s response, but women of North Carolina organized pledge campaigns for the boycott of tea. During the war, women’s associations raised funds for the American cause, the start of political organization and activism by American women.

    Source(s): http://www.ushistory.org/us/d.asp

  • Being attracted to variety (i.e. to different types of women) is how a species ensures its survival. The more genetic diversity there is, the healthier the offspring and the greater the chances of genetic survival. So from an evolutionary standpoint, it makes more sense for a man to maybe like blonds, but also be attracted to redheads, and so on. I realize that wasn’t exactly your question, but the same principle applies. If we’re going to go down the route of only finding a certain type of woman attractive, then all men should only prefer this one, perfect, strikingly beautiful blond woman. It doesn’t work that way. Nature allows us to be attracted to multiple partners with varying traits. Maybe the reason individual men have individual preferences (e.g. one man might not like blonds but only like brunettes, another might only like blonds and not brunettes, etc.) is because that enables him to be attracted to whatever trait his particular gene pool needs to acquire the most. For example, you often find that short men are attracted to tall women. Tall men usually don’t care about a woman’s height, and instead look for other traits. I’m sure there’s no evidence to support this theory, but it’s an interesting possibility.

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