Humanities in Class Online Courses

Abigail & John Adams: Exploring Early U.S. History Through the Life of an American Power Couple

Images: (1) Abigail Adams, 1800/1815, painted by Gilbert Stuart (1755–1828), National Gallery of Art; (2) Book cover of Abigail & John written by David Bruce Smith, illustrated by Clarice Smith; (3) John Adams, 1800/1815, painted by Gilbert Stuart (1755–1828), National Gallery of Art

In 1776, Abigail Adams urged her husband John to “remember the ladies” by offering them legal protection, rather than leaving their fate in the hands of their husbands. This course follows Abigail Adams’s directive by exploring the lives of women and men during the late colonial period in British North America, the American Revolution, the early years of nation formation in the United States, and John Adams’s presidency. Abigail and John’s lived experiences and their involvement in public service provide a lens for examining the social and political changes that gripped the land now known as the United States during the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries. This course builds on the book Abigail & John by David Bruce Smith (with illustrations by Clarice Smith) and is intended for elementary and middle school instructors.

This course has been designed with the generous support of the Grateful American Foundation.

Professional Development Hours

Fall/Spring six-week course: 35

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Registration fee: $125

Fall Session 2: November 7–December 16, 2022
Spring Session 1: January 23–March 3, 2023

Sample Activities

  • Situate Abigail and John Adams as a founding couple
  • Discuss methods of presenting and translating eighteenth-century primary sources
  • Explore Abigail Adams’s most famous 1776 comment that her husband should “remember the ladies”
  • Explore women’s involvement in nation building by examining their legal rights and social statuses within communities
  • Address Abigail and John Adams’s views on slavery
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