Lessons from the First Ladies

October 23, 2009 | NeW Staff

As young women, we can develop strength of character by looking to women of the past who shaped history. Knowledge from the past can be channeled to positively affect the future.

Last night marked the kick off of NeW at UF’s “first ladies” series. Policy analyst Jean Morrow, provided insight into the lives of Martha Washington and Abigail Adams. Both women exhibit qualities NeW women strive to embody.

Abigail Adams, shown above, spoke for justice in her time. She was an abolitionist, a first wave true feminist, wife to the second president and mother to the sixth. Despite not being formally educated, she was a prominent advocate for women’s rights, such as property rights and access to education. Freedoms women enjoy today are freedoms that Abigail Adams spoke for; these rights are also much different than the issues second-wave feminists advocate today.

Martha Washington was a lady of perseverance. She lived through the death of her first husband as well as the death of all of her children, as well as the turmoil of the Revolutionary War.

She was quoted as saying, “I am determined to be cheerful and happy in whatever situation I may find myself. For I have learned that the greater partof our misery or unhappiness is determined not by our circumstance butby our disposition.

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