Both Mercy Warren and Abigail Adams admired Catharine Macaulay, the radical author of A history of England(1763), who supported the cause of the America n patriots. Under Macaulay’s influence Warren conceived her plan to write a hist ory of the American Revolution. Living to complete it in 1805. Abigail Adams rej ected literary ambitions for herself and never lost her sense of inferiority abo ut her poor spelling and ignorance of Latin. Yet her letters, rather than Warren ’s plays and verse have become the greater source in documenting signs of a dawn ing feminist consciousness.
Abigail Adams welcomed every advance for women and foresaw more than could be re alized in her lifetime. She urged her husband, the second President of the Unite d States, to “remember the ladies” in the new code of laws and to give married women protection from tyrannical husbands. As she pointed out the terrible defi ciencies in education for women at all levels, she finally made the significant request to her husband, that the new constitution “be distinguished for Learnin g and Virtue” and suggested that “if we mean to have Heroes, Statesmen and Phi losophers, we should have learned woman.” This awareness of education’s value, rooted in the Enlightenment faith in human potentiality, had feminist implicatio n before there was a feminist ideology.
A younger contemporary of similar background gave the reading public an explicit feminist argument for the education of women. The views of Judith Sargent M urray (1751-1820) reflected both personal and family experience. Murray’s Cleane r essays published in the 1790’s transcended the boundaries of her world in reco gnizing the need for training women to earn their own living. Although, like Mer cy Warren and Abigail Adams, she was brought up with the values of gentility, sh e knew through personal hardship that even women of her class might be forced to be selfsupporting; education could provide independence for women in need whe ther they were unmarried women or widows or wives.
1. What does the passage mainly discuss?
A. Abigail Adams’ life.
B. Women historians.
C. Early sources of feminist thinking.
D. The literary ambitions of Judith Sargent Murray.
2. Which of the following statements best expresses Judith Sargent Murra y’s position?
A. Women should be well educated in order to support themselves.
B. Women’s rights must be protected by new laws.
C. The accomplishments of women are ignored in most historical documents.
D. Women need to become more active in political affairs.
3 What did Mercy Warren, Abigail Adams and Judith Sargent Murray have in common?
A. They all wrote books.
B. They were all responsible for the financial support of their families.
C. They were all interested in women’s accomplishments.
D. They all had influential families.