History of Republican Motherhood and Abigail Adams
Republican Motherhood is a term that stemmed from the Revolutionary War. The concept was to inspire a sense of nationalism to future generations of Americans. The idea of Republican Motherhood was to have women become educated in the newly established principles of what American society should be. These principles include the values of being independent as a nation, liberty, and the value of democracy. The hope was that these characteristics would be passed down to future generations and spread the importance of being a free America.
In one sense, the directing of women to act in this manner identifies the perceived influence that women have in society. If women were seen as not having any impact on their communities, there would be no point in trying to spread these ideals through women. It also points out that women have the capacity to become resources for giving information and keeping up morale for the nation.
The American Revolution had a great impact on the way society functioned. Women were beginning to be seen as more important. This might be since many men were needed at the onset of colonization to build communities and do many physically demanding tasks, and since a lot of that initial work had been carried out, the nation could shift and look to the future as an independent country.
In this new America women were not always expected to be completely submissive and silent in marriage. The wife was beginning to have a better relationship with her husband in many cases. In the husband’s absence, the wife would now be trusted running the family business and tending to the household.
Viewing marriage as a mutual commitment became a more popular ideal. Though there were a few improvements, women were still expected to be subservient to their husbands. Women did gain a few advantages from Republican Motherhood.
One example of Republican Motherhood is Abigail Adams. She was the wife and mother of two U.S. Presidents. She raised her son John Quincy Adams to have the utmost duty to his country. She advised him that everything should be sacrificed for the benefit of the country (Letter, 1848).
The relationship between husband and wife still was not equal. The freedom enjoyed by the wife still had limitations. This being the case, women did benefit through Republican Motherhood. This was another step on the road to being considered full citizens with equal worth. Women were being trusted with ensuring a strong, patriotic nation. This was a major responsibility. To educate future generations on the importance of education, it gave further necessity for women to be educated themselves. This role was a foundation of better things to come for American women. It also benefited their children, who grew up appreciating the country their ancestors had fought for.