Updated: Mar 30, 2021
Cokie Roberts Made Sure We Remember the Ladies
In a letter dated March 31, 1776, Abigail Adams writes to her husband, John Adams, urging him and the other members of the Continental Congress not to forget about the nation’s women when fighting for America’s independence from Great Britain.
In an excerpt from that letter she writes, “I long to hear that you have declared an independency. And, by the way, in the new code of laws which I suppose it will be necessary for you to make, I desire you would remember the ladies and be more generous and favorable to them than your ancestors. Do not put such unlimited power into the hands of the 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.”
I LOVE Abigail Adams! And why do you think there's that old saying that 'behind every great man there's a great woman?' Well, I might change it to say 'an even greater woman'! But I digress. We're coming to the close of Women's History Month and I couldn't let it go by without a shoutout to all the amazing women who helped to get all of us where we are today! Particularly, the Founding Mothers, as the inimitable, author Cokie Roberts titled her book about the women behind the men that brought about the birth of the United States. I love reading about history and the stories of the women and men that came before us. Founding Mothers is a fabulous read that demonstrates the inestimable value of a woman's influence as a mother, wife, scholar, philanthropist, teacher, physician or whatever it is that we each as individual women do with our lives. We all matter and we all can learn from the great women highlighted in Roberts' book. According to Goodreads, the book's average rating is 3.67. Amazon reviewers rate it higher. Some love it while others do not. But that's the way it is with books and lots of other things. I think Roberts did a great job with what little information was recorded and archived about women at that time in history.
Interestingly, it only took the US House of Representatives 150 years until they "couldn't ignore the ladies" any longer and voted to pass the 19th Amendment giving women the right to vote. Adams letter was a private first step in the fight for equal rights for women. Abigail was a formidable woman in her own right, but Abigail and John Adams together were a model of mutual respect and affection in marriage. They have been referred to as “America’s first power couple.” Their correspondence of over 1,000 letters written between 1762 and 1801 is housed in the Massachusetts Historical Society and provides a unique perspective on domestic and political life during the revolutionary era. Although I doubt Abigail and John Adams were the typical American couple of the time.
Abigail and John had six children, of whom five survived. Their oldest son, John Quincy Adams, served as the sixth president of the United States. Only two women have been both wives and mothers of American presidents, Abigail Adams and Barbara Bush. What are the odds of that happening?! I just named my kids after US Presidents.
You Are Your Mother's Daughter
My girls, I have two, Madison and McKinley, are intelligent, talented, capable, beautiful and all around amazing! They are their mother's daughters. To be sure, they get it all from me! Ha ha! I suppose they did get a little bit from their dad. He's pretty amazing too. But I am often saying, "I am my mother's daughter" because I do things just the way my wonderful mother would. My daughters will say the same thing, usually when they do something silly. What does that say about me? But it is true that children get over half their DNA from their mother. It's bonafide science! When Mother's Day rolls around I'll share a video that my oldest son, Taylor, has shared with me. He's a biochemist who is now in medical school, so I think he's a credible source when it comes to family DNA. But again, I digress.
I have to be honest with you. I have not read We Are Our Mother's Daughters, but I love the title and I so enjoyed Founding Mothers, that I'm sure this will be a great read. Sometimes you just have to go with your gut! I purchased my ebook on Amazon and it's next on my reading list. You can purchase yours here: We Are Our Mothers' Daughters.
The late Cokie Roberts, her full name being, Mary Martha Corinne Morrison Claiborne Roberts was a journalist, best-selling author, Emmy award winner, and a “founding mother of NPR.” She was also a breast cancer survivor for 17 years. Diagnosed in 2002 at the age of 58, she had a lumpectomy and underwent chemotherapy. She was cancer free until 2017 when the cancer recurred and she ultimately succumbed to the disease in 2019. There has been a decrease in the mortality rate for breast cancer in recent years and it is thought to be the result of treatment advances, earlier detection through screening, and increased awareness, according to BreastCancer.org. Roberts was an outspoken breast cancer survivor who advocated for screening and greater public attention.
In 2008 Roberts was named a “Living Legend” by the Library of Congress. She was the author of the New York Times bestsellers We Are Our Mothers’ Daughters, Founding Mothers, Ladies of Liberty, and Capital Dames: The Civil War and the Women of Washington, 1848-1868. I think I'll put all of these on my reading list.
If you've read any of Roberts' books, I'd love to hear what you thought!
Also, any guesses as to the name of my fourth child, a son? If you comment and guess correctly I'll send you a paperback of Founding Mothers!