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tv   First Ladies Influence Image - Abigail Adams  CSPAN  June 16, 2020 8:15am-9:47am EDT

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captions copyright national cable satellite corp. 2008 >> they decided together they would stay at home. there wasn't a precedent for a first lady and the first -- the second first lady, the vice president's wife, to be living with the men. it was by choice. martha did it. but abigail had the liberty to choose to go home and she did for the next six years. >> we learned the city of philadelphia was decimated at the start of the second washington term by yellow fever. did she have any illness related
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to that? >> no. >> what was her illness? >> it's very hard to tell all these years later. she describes symptoms, but it's hard to put a name on the symptoms. >> rum tism. >> she did have rum tism. beyond that the symptoms are hard to diagnose. >> there was no role model for being the second lady at the time, but jean spear asked, did the newspapers of that time mention abigail? >> i'm not sure about that. they certainly mentioned john from time to time, although -- >> was she a national figure at that point? >> no. not at all. she was known because she had been the wife of the minister to great britain one of the problems that they had was that people thought that they were monarchial. they had been tainted by the
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time in europe. i think this is one of the interesting things about abigail. she grows up a minister's daughter and at some point she's at versailles and at the court of st. james so she is an extraordinarily sophisticated person by that time. much more so than martha washington. >> right. >> martha washington was american elite. >> right. >> abigail was international. >> right. >> and what of the relationship between martha washington and abigail adams? >> it was wonderful. abigail loved martha. she met her when she was the wife of the vice president. and whenever they had social events, they were very close. and abigail wrote whenever she wrote about martha which wasn't that much but when she did write about martha it was in the most glowing terms. >> one of the things she did is
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that just after she knew that john was going to be elected, she wrote to martha washington asking her about how to be the first lady. about etiquette and how she would carry on. >> right. martha wrote back and said -- you know inside yourself how to behave. >> and we know that is a tradition that continues today for new incoming first ladies reach out to the people who have served before to understand the enormity of this task. here is a call next. it is from ron in everett, washington. hi, ron. >> caller: good evening. thanks for the program. thanks for taking my call. i've read and one of miss gelles's books and some of the earlier works on john adams, but i still think the most comprehensive biography although technically of john adams but really of them both was one done more than half a century ago, two volumes by paige smith. i think that really still stands
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out an i just wanted to get your comments on that. >> i think no one writes about john adams today without consulting paige smith. he is the foundations for writing about -- and remarkable to me because the adams papers had just been opened to the public at the time when he started writing his book and yet they're so thoroughly researched. >> that was the first thing i read in graduate school. that was my introduction to john adams. >> that's right. >> well, the caller nice to mention some of your books. i want to show some of them. we're hoping along the way people will be intrigued enough to read more. here's "abigail adams, a writing life." another. "abigail and john, the portrait of a marriage." here's one more i'll put on the screen here. "my dearest friends, the letters of abigail and john adams." this is one of your books here. are these letters approachable for the every day person? i mean, can you just dive right
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in and get a sense of this person that -- >> oh, yes. you might need a little historical context to understand a few of the things they're alluding to but the letters are personal and in some ways they're timeless because they talk about problems people have today, concerns people have today. not the political context but the intimacy of the letters. >> i would add to that, first of all, your book is excellent because of the footnoting and you take people into it. puts also, abigail's letters have been in print and she's been read since 1840. when her grandson first published an edition of her letters which went through four editions in the 1840s. and it was -- she was a best seller through the 19th century. people knew her. she's always been famous. >> i won't be able to find the tweet as quickly. did the adamss ever think about
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their letters ever being published and do you have any sense of -- >> yeah. as early as 1776, john is telling her to put the letters up and keep them. i think at a certain point there's almost a consciousness in some of -- particularly his letters. they know at a certain point and i don't know when they crossed that threshold that they're important. this is one of the reasons that the family savings letters. early on it's emotion with the miss adorable letter and things like that. after a while their letters extend from 1762 to 1801 almost 40 years the most important 40 years in american history. >> they understood they were players in it and they were writing for the ages. >> i believe so. >> this is a tweet from big john 9981, last week you mentioned martha did not like john adams,
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how did this affect the relationship between martha and abigail? >> i don't know that that's true. >> i think what we said was abigail and martha's friendship helped facilitate the relationship between washington and adams, when they were trying to understand what a president and vice president might do. can you see any evidence for that? >> i don't know. i think that john and george washington got along pretty well all the time. john adams was extraordinarily supportive of washington and was personally injured when some of the press turned on washington, couldn't believe it. this is one of the things, martha and george were a hard act to follow and they knew they were going to be difficult. >> we will move into the years of their one-term presidency. before that video it's a time when in one of your books you called it a splendid using
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abigail and adams' words a splendid misery being in the white house. explain what that phrase meant. >> it was splendid in that they were at the pinnacle of his political career and her career. i mean they had risen to the top. and it was nothing but trouble. agonizing trouble from the very beginning. at very first, john was enthusiastic about becoming president and abigail said i'm going to stay in quincy because i have things to do. she was taking care of john's mother. she said i won't be there until october and he said that's fine. you don't have to come until october. then once he was in the presidency, he discovered it was the loneliest place in the world and he started writing letters. drop everything that you're doing. come here, i need you immediately. and she did. >> i think one of the interesting things and she was hesitant about it is, she said i
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like to be outspoken, i like to speak my peace and she knew in that context she couldn't. but when she was in quincy, she could. >> where she was in quincy that time was a house they built together called peace field. let's take a looks at it. >> in 1787 abigail realized they had outgrown their cottage at the foot of pen's hill and began to negotiate through her cousin to purchase the house we're standing in front of right now. john adams enjoyed a lot of peace and tranquillity at this home, as did abigail, so he christened his home peace field. there were two rooms on the first floor, two rooms on the second and three smaller bedrooms on the third floor and a small kitchen in the back of the house. essentially there were about seven and a half rooms to this home. this was john and abigail's home base. >> before becoming first lady abigail would spend nine years in this house. the first year she essentially was setting up the house after just returning from europe.
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she had remembered this house as one of the grand houses in quincy, but her perception of grand had changed since living in europe. she began, though, right away making plans to enlarge the house. she wanted to improve on the size and the height of the ceilings and the size of the space. she would, in fact, write to her daughter warning her not to wear any of her large feathered hats because the ceilings were too low. adding a long hall and a long entertainment room where she would receive her guests. with sensitivity to the architecture on the outside and flow of the home she had the builder dig down so that they could lower the floors and get the high ceilings she desired without disrupting the architecture on the outside of the house. step down two steps and you're in a whole different world. a typical day for abigail would be to rise at 5:00 a.m.
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she had many chores to do. much of her time here was spent tending the farm, taking care of the orchard and taking care of the house. shes also loved the early morning hours to spend by herself, preparing herself for the day, but most importantly, having a chance to indulge in one of her novels. although this is a presidential home, it is the home of a family and abigail instead of having servants doing all the work for her, even as a first lady, she would also be contributing to the kitchen and the running of the household. this is something she continued throughout her life no matter what her position was. she was very involved. she had children and grandchildren visiting her here and it was a very active and lively household. she spent a great deal of her time writing, because their misfortune being apart was our fortune. in one letter he's asking her to come to philadelphia, abigail would write of the room she was in and the window and the view
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that she saw. the beauty which unfolds outside of the window at which i now write tempts me to forget the past. while abigail was back here at peace field she was on a new beginning as a first lady of the united states, as the wife of the president, and also still a mother. she would describe life here at peace field so romantically, that john adams would reply in one of his letters oh, my sweet little farm, what i would do to enjoy thee without interruption. >> and of the four years of the adams presidency, how much time did abigail spend at peace field versus in the capital? >> he became ill in 1798 and went home and had to stay there for an extended time. and john actually followed her and she stayed there for too long according to his cabinet members who finally urged him to come back to philadelphia which was then the capital.
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so she tried to stay there for as much time as she could. but again her health caused her to be at home and she was quite ill for close to a year. and possibly close to death during that time. >> how did he serve as chief executive from afar? >> this also happened during the vice presidency. when congress was in meeting the vice president would go back to wherever he lived and i think the president, when -- especially during the summer they would leave in the spring and come back in the fall. it was like a seasonal thing although he did overdo it a little bit during this time. it was not unusual for the president to be away during this time. >> these were trying years for a brand new nation. can you give us a sense of the period of what was happening during the adams administration, the key policy issues and how it was fairing on the world stage, this new country? >> i think the major problems
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were international at that time. there were internal political risks and you had during this time really the creation of political parties in america, the two-party system. but we had problems with the french, we had problems with the british, we had particular problems with the french. american political parties were divided pro french and pro british and one with of the things john was troubled with during this time was keeping the country out of war. he was successful. i think that's probably the thing he should be most recognized for during the period. >> i also find it ironic that he is one president who kept us out of war, avoided war, because the revolution could have -- and the united states would have collapsed in a second war with britain. >> but the people would have gone to war in a drop of a hat at that time. >> they would have. they were ready to go to war and he prevented it. it subverted his career.
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>>? what way? >> the polltations of the time were maybe like politicians forever, enjoying the exercise of making war and they were very close to war. the population in general was outraged by the piracy that was going on, american ships were being taken on the seas and american diplomats were being badly treated in france especially. the french revolution had happened. john adams, as jim says, kept us out of war. >> we have a few key dates in a very historic four years of the adams administration. 1797 to 1801 and a small point for those of you who don't follow early american history, presidents then were inaugurated in march, the dates in january familiar to us, march to march was the time frame. and you can see things such as the washington, d.c., selected as the capital in 1800.
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1801 chief justice john marshal selected. i want to go to this date in 1798 with the passage of the acts. what were they and what is the significance and what is the viewpoint of both adams on this act? >> the acts were a reaction to some of the international problems at that time. there was a belief on the part of some people that we were about to be overrun by french revolutionaries and that they were influencing people in america. there were rumors about cities were going to be burned and that -- it was terrorism they were anticipating. >> so americans were afraid of the french at that point? >> of some of the french. there were people who, for example, the opposition party, the democratic republican party, was very enthusiastic about the
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french and some of the ideals of the french revolution. >> jefferson in particular. >> jefferson in particular. this is where they begin to go different directions. also, some of the press was very vehement in their criticisms of the administration. so one of the things they muzzled the press and i think this is the thing probably that john adams is most criticized for, abigail, i believe, supported john -- well, actually it wasn't john that -- came out of congress and signed the legislation, but abigail was even more vehement -- this is where i say she's even more conservative than john is during that time. >> the upshot of this for people who would be breaking the law if you were -- thought of breaking the acts what happened? >> you could be jailed. >> to recall paige smith mentioned earlier as the biographer, paige smith said
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that press wrote that the press at this time was the most scurrilous in american history. they made things up. they didn't have standards. the press was -- it was not only that they were supporting the french, they made up stories that were not true and adams was seriously worried about this. it should be said jefferson supported the acts, except that he believed that states should be passing laws, not the national government because he was in favor of states rights and that was part of what separated them. it was something that at that time people didn't have the same horror about -- about suppressing the press that we have today. >> right. it was in the heat of the moment. >> right. >> next question comes from steven watching us in chicago, hi, steven. >> caller: hi there. i'm -- i was just wondering they say history repeats itself and i was wondering if there are any
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presidents and first lady, first couple that most resemble or are analogous of the adams -- of adams. people talk about george and barbara bush because of the one-term presidency and the son that went on to be president. is there a better relationship or is that sort of the relationship standard? >> i hope you'll take that question. >> there's no one else like abigail and john. we don't have the insight into anyone else's lives. they don't leaves us letters telling us. letters recently revealed, lyndon johnson's love letters were revealed. there's nothing like abigail and john exchange. >> not that the two of you are biased having spent your -- >> no. >> really. right. >> true. >> i think the length -- it's when they're situated in such an important period of time and
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they were players on so many stages and that's the thing that sets them apart. >> here's a question about peace field from twitter. many presidents used their holes as neutral space for meetings. did john and abigail host dignitaries at peace field? >> people came by, not so much during the presidency, much later in retirement. i remember when john is really quite ancient, and it's a little while after abigail has passed, cadets from west point came and they had a band and they played and marched and then they were served punch and the officers, john adams gave a talk to the patriotic talk to the troops and occasionally people would come by. they didn't entertain in the sense of politically entertaining. it was family for the most part. >> which is a contrast from
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mount vernon and the washingtons which seemed to be constantly welcoming people into their house throughout their -- >> i think they did. i think there was a lot of traffic through their houses. people wanted to be close to the president and they were accessible. i think social standards were different then. and standards of hospitality were different. if someone came to your door you just didn't turn them away. although they might like to have done so. >> so during the period of the white house years she continued to write letters in the time that they were separated. >> right. yeah. she did. i think another important point when she is with john it isn't there's writing letters, she's writing letters to other people while he is president, two of their children are in europe in a diplomatic mission. there's a lot of letters back and forth between thomas boilston and john quincy adams to their parents and she writes to her sister, wonderful letters to her sisters, who are back in
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massachusetts for a while in new hampshire. >> we have another example of a letter to john adams from abigail. let's watch. >> i have been much diverted with a little occurrence wit took place a few days since and which served to show how little founded in nature so much boasted principle of liberty and equality is. the neighbor came in one evening and requested to speak to he me. his e-rand was to informed me if james went to school it would break up the school for the other lads refused to go. pray, mr. faxon, has the boy misbehaved? if he has, let the master turn him out of school? oh, no. there was no complaint of that kind, but they did not choose to go to school with a boy. why not object to going to meeting. because he does, mr. faxon. she continues on in this vain saying, you know, they allow him to play at the dance and they still go.
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and she closes this section saying, the boy is a free man as much as any of the young men and merely because his face is black is he be too denied instruction. how is he to be qualified to procure a livelihood? is this the christian principle of doing to others as we would have others do to us? >> yes, this is a letter to john adams as he's serving in the presidency. she's not just recounting an experience in her own life, she's hoping to influence the thinking it seems. how concerned was he with rights and equalities at this point in his presidency? >> i think it's a little different thing and i think this is james she's talking about who was an adams' servant. james was a special person to abigail and when abigail and a few months after this goes to
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philadelphia, john says, don't bring james. he didn't want blacks in philadelphia as his servants. it's not really clear why, but i think it was a sense they could be corrupted. there were many fewer black in massachusetts and there was a larger free black community and slaves in philadelphia and says to her, don't have him come beyond philadelphia or new york. have him go back. he writes a second letter and this is very revealing to me and he says you have babied him. i think he was a special -- i think she taught him to read. and so i don't think this -- i don't know that she was instructing john adams so much on this is that she was showing her -- her love and affection for james as an individual, regardless of his race. >> here is a quote that one of
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our viewers is sending, i believe looks like she's quoting john, a letter to john to abigail in 1774, the quote this viewer picked out was, we live, my dear soul, in an age of trial. what will the consequence be, i know not. do you have any thoughts on that? >> well, it's a wonderful quote because it does tell us that they had no idea that there would be war. i guess suspected there would be a war. they did not know its duration. they did not know it would separate the colonies from the mother country. all of the things we take for granted that we know about them, we have to erase if we go back to a letter like this and view it from their point of view. he is saying, we don't know what's going to happen. >> a few more things from this time period of the presidency. we said she was criticized by the press who sometimes used the phrase to describe her as mrs. president. what's the whole context of that
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reference? >> the context is the scurrilous press at the time and attacking a woman was not very nice. the british press did the same, referred to them as darby and joan and had attacked them because he was, of course, the american minister to great britain. so she was accustomed to not having good relations with the press but it didn't endear the press to her. it speaks to the tone of newspaper journalism at that time. >> did she complain to family members about this? was she hurt by the way she was treated in the press? take it as part of politics. >> i think she took it as part of politics. she was defensive about her husband. >> right. >> abigail didn't have great ambition for herself but she had great ambition for john and great ambition for her boys, but particularly for john quincy adams.
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she was very defensive of them. i think this is one of the reasons why the relationship with jefferson is so difficult because she had really loved thomas jefferson as a friend and jefferson she believed turned on her husband. >> how did she express her support of her husband? in addition to just writing letters to him and encouraging him along. >> she stayed there and went there and she was with him all of the time. when he needed her, she was there. >> was there an avenue for her to respond to the press? >> not that i could think of. her avenue of responding to the press was, oh, she was in favor of the laws. she liked the idea of curtailing the press. >> let's take our next telephone call. >> caller: hi. good program. thank you for taking my call. interestingly enough, i'm a member of the press and i've
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heard two callers tonight kind of insinuate that abigail was not a good mother because of the situation with charlie, yet they talk nothing about john quincy, not only becoming president, i believe john quincy was a leading abolitionist, follow american history, whether the kkk doing their stuff in the south, the john society, the tea party now which is 97% caucasian, can't we at least give abigail, throw her a bouquet of roses to say that maybe she might have influenced john quincy in terms of the color of a man's skin should not determine how he's placed in this society and now you have scumbags -- >> we're going to stop you right there. her influence on raising john quincy adams? >> john quincy lived with her until 11 years old at which point he went to europe with john and she didn't see him
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again until he was 17 or 18. he became a man. >> under the tutelage of his father? >> but she was very influential in those first 11 years. i balk at this tendency to blame the mother every time something goes wrong with the children. circumstances happen. there are genes. there's possibly a disposition to alcoholism in that family. it was in the family. a revolution happened when her children grew up. they grew up in war time. that could be very damaging to children's psyches. the year 1800 was a very difficult year for the adamss.
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a campaign for re-election, hard fought against a big political rival in thomas jefferson, they lost that. it was a year they moved to the white house and they also lost their son in that year. let's talk about all of those individually for a little bitp the decision to run for the office again, did abigail support john's interest in continuing in the presidency? >> we don't have as much as we had in the decision for the previous election where they agonized over it and went back and forth and there's letters, should i, shouldn't i. i don't have as much of that for the second term. this was -- he was in harness, things were going and part of it was because by this time, the political parties were so strong, he felt -- he didn't want the other party in. he wanted to follow through with what he was doing. he had even though there were
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several bad things happening around or to the adams family during that time, is twa actually in 1800 he had one of his great successes. the convention with the french that ended the non-declared war. >> right. >> i also would emphasize that the political parties were not written into the constitution and washington and adams both and many of the people around them did not anticipate political parties. they thought they had a constitution and a government and everyone was going to agree and it was going to be harmonious. didn't work out that way. but -- and it was a surprise to them. i think it was a surprise to adams that there was so much dissension during his administration. >> they lived the last four months of their administration as the first occuppants of the white house. we have this graphic of the
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white house in 1800 and it just really looks pretty miserable. what was life like in the mansion for the adams? >> it was pretty miserable. they did not have heat. they had to gather wood such as it was in that area and stoke fires in the fire places. the mansion was not finished when they moved in. abigail describes georgetown as a swam. the city was not yet built. they moved in before there was a proper white house. also i think it affected the way she entertained, it affected her entire role as first lady in that she was limited by what she could do in that drafty, cold, incompleted house. they had one stairway they could use to go to the second floor. >> but it must have been shared misery by the members of
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congress who were arriving in this city with -- >> they all or most of them lived in rooming houses and boarding houses. another thing was it was seasonal. congress came and went. there weren't a lot of people who lived year round in washington at that time. >> and we have this graphic we've been showing of laundry being hung inside rooms of that white house. did that really happen? >> i don't know. >> i don't either. i suspect it's -- >> just a sense -- >> she may have done it. it sounds like abigail actually. very pragmatic solution. >> it wouldn't have been a good place to dry laundry because it was dark and cold. >> that's true. >> and we've talked about charles dying. any more to say about how that affected her and any more for people to know about the death of that son in that turbulent year? >> it was a terrible heart ache for her and for him. >> he denied it. he tried to stand off from it.
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>> he did write to jefferson in later years the greatest grief of my life. >> jan is watching us in boise. you're on the air, jan. >> caller: hi. thank you for putting on this series. i'm curious about what role religion played in their life given that her father was a pastor? my sense was that john was raised with more call van nous bent, but more unitarian as an older man. what about abigail? >> thank you for that question. abigail was a very religious woman. abigail was so religious that in times of turbulence when things went wrong in her life, she thought it was a case of punishment. when there was an epidemic during the war years when john was away, when they -- that people were dying and her servants were sick and so forth, she said it is a scourge sent upon us for some is sin.
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her letters continually referenced the bible. i think that when things got bad in her life she became more religious and when -- and more conservatively religious. i agree she was probably more conservative in her religion than john adams. >> we have about ten minutes left in our discussion of abigail adams in the series on the biographies of the first ladies with our two guests here. when john adams realized he lost the presidency, how did he take that and how did abigail take it? >> i think they were -- well, by the time the electoral vote was counted i think they pretty well knew that he was not going to be re-elected. i think they were disappointed. one of the things john said
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throughout his public life was that he was always going to retire and always going to go back to the farm and retire. he loved the farm. in that sense it wasn't so bad. i think it was the defeat of the ideas and the -- some people refer to it as the revolution of 1800 because it was such a dramatic change with the other party coming in. he did not attend the inauguration. some people say it was because he was being spiteful or whatever. those of us who defend adams say he had to catch an early stage to get back. i don't know. it might be somewhere in between there. but part of it was a man who in a sense i think he felt betrayed him and defeated him. i think that was probably the hardest thing. >> this couple who had spent so many years apart in the development of their country and now had this opportunity to live together, how long did they live together in the post-white house years? >> abigail lived until 1818 and
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they lived together for 18 years. >> what were the years like for them? >> they were idyllic in some ways and very difficult in other ways. it was not an easy retirement all the time. they were very happy to be together. abigail refused to go visit her daughter, for instance, because she said i can't leave john. i'm not going to leave john. during that period of time, her daughter had a mastectomy in 1811 without anesthesia. >> that's so hard to think of. >> and then ultimately died. >> two years later. but came from new york state to her parents' home to die so they were very close. it was a time of satisfaction and peace and also very great disruptions in their lives. they had problems with
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grandchildren and children. it was a constant drama going on. one grandson went off and fought in the revolution in venezuela and they had to bail him out or not bail him out. john refused to bail him out. >> they had some financial difficulties for a while. there was a bank failure in england their son had invested in. >> this is where it does begin to sound like downtown abby. >> one of the problems with the daughter was that she had a terrible husband and they very early on realized that and they were constantly worried about her, not just physically. >> from the perspective of your life's work and the letters, they were together so obviously they stopped writing letters at that point? >> they stopped writing letters to each other but she's still writing to other people and john is still writing to other people. >> to whom most pro livically?
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>> john quincy adams is frequently away on diplomatic assignments or later will be secretary of state and he's in washington as a senator and other things. abigail has a sister who lives in new hampshire at that time. i think mary is her favorite sister, her older sister, lives fairly nearby so there isn't much correspondence there. to children, to friends. >> close to her granddaughter caroline. >> right. >> lovely correspondence between her and this young girl. >> when john quincy goes to england he meets his wife there. what was the relationship between the two adams women? >> i think it was a good one. i think louise was quite shocked by the culture she encountered in new england after having a
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gentle upbringing in france. even church attendance -- >> when she went to the old house she said it was like going on noah's arc. >> right. >> well, let's actually -- our closing video, a return to peace field where the adams spent their final years. >> abigail enjoyed 17 years of retirement here at peace field with her husband john adams. here, the old couple could dote on their children and grandchildren and enjoy the peace and tranquillity that this place offered them throughout their lives. the president's bedroom is a reflection of the warmth that this house provided them. it was inviting, sunny and bright, and abigail enjoyed many hours in this room writing to her friends, writing to her family, enjoying the time with her husband. on october 27th of 1818, abigail
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passed away from tie foid fever. she was 74 years old and john adams lost his dearest friend. the only way he could find comfort was in the pen. he would pen a letter to thomas jefferson letting jefferson know he lost his dear friend and he would say to his family, if only i could lie down beside her and die too. >> can you talk about john adams life in the years after abigail died? >> john was surrounded by family, so he was not isolated. he had always his hostess and caretaker a niece who lived with him and had lived with them for most of her life. grand children came and children came. so there was always traffic through the house and people came. the militia came from boston as you said. there was a lot going on during
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those years. he was quite -- he couldn't write his own letters. he had someone write for him. but he carried on this incredible correspondence with jefferson during those years. it was -- >> culminating as our viewers know with the two of them, these great bitter enemies finally coming to peace and dying together on the 50th anniversary of the declaration of independence july 4th which is really quite an amazing piece of american history. there's a question here about whether or not there is a blood line still living of john and abigail? is there an adams family -- >> we were joking about this before. >> we were laughing, oh, yes. why don't you respond to that? >> there are several that -- the massachusetts historical society and the adams family have been close over the centuries and there's an association and adams
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family association for the adams memorial association and i think they have more than 100 members. but what we were joking about we frequently get questions from people thinking, believing that they're related or a descendent of john and abigail. some of them may be, but there are many more descendents than we think are possible or people believe -- >> the name gets lost. women marry out and the adams name gets lost. >> in our few minutes left, stephanie from michigan, you're going to be our last caller. what's your question? >> caller: thank you. i'm wondering what became of the children after she died very young? did they remain with the adams at peace field? thank you for taking my call. i've enjoyed the show. >> thank you. >> they were adults when she died. the daughter caroline was married. >> carolyn dewit. >> she was married at the time.
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the son was also an adult. there were no small children. >> our last individual of abigail's death at peace field. and if we -- all right. we don't have that. we have very little bit of time left. in bringing this full circle for people who have been introduced to abigail adams tonight what's the important thing to know about her? what was her impact or influence on american history? >> she was influential and particularly as a -- as we think back to the american revolution, she is the only woman, her record of letters provides the only insights we have of the revolution at a sustained level during that entire period of the revolution and the early national period. so she's historically significant. she also is an exemplary person and tells us about women's lives
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in that time and what it was like to be not just first lady or not just the wife the american minister but to be a wife and a mother. and a sister. and a daughter. >> dr. taylor, what would you say? >> i think the thing that i always think about with abigail is the relationship, the partnership. without abigail there's no john, without john there's no abigail. >> and therefore john's importance to history, so the reason why she's important is the relationship? >> right. >> without the kind of support she provided both to him in europe in the presidency and the vice presidency, but more important, that he didn't to -- she was so trustworthy she could take care of things he could two off and be this great public person which is exactly what she wanted. >> to our two guests, edith and jim, thanks for helping us understand more about the life
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and legacy of america's second first lady, abigail adams. thank you for your time. >> thank you. >> thank you. ♪
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>> if you enjoyed watching first ladies, pick up a copy of the book "first ladies influence and image" featuring profiles of the nation's first ladies through interviews with top historians, now available in paperback, hard cover, or as an e-book. >> first ladies, influence and image on american history tv examines the private lives and the public roles of the nation's first ladies through interviews with top historians. tonight we look at dolly madison, elizabeth monroe and louie louie adams. influence and image tonight at 8:00 p.m. eastern on american history tv on c-span 3. >> today, fcc chair ajits pai testifies on the broadband program before a


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