What's In A Name?

A little ditty about Jack and Diane 🎶 Actually, it’s about John and Abigail. And, I would argue, more memorable. (If you’re too young for this reference, e-mail me, we’ll get coffee).

I was talking to someone the other day. They’ll remain nameless.

“You know, that thing you got going on, Em, Remember the Ladies? That’s a great name. How did you come up with it?”

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“WELLLL”, I said. “I’m glad you asked.”

Gets into full history professor mode

“I did not come up with it. Abigail Adams did.”

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I know. You’re astonished. For as eloquent as I might seem, Abigail was exponentially more interesting and educated than I.

Abigail Adams, wife of founding father John Adams, decided to give her husband a bit of advice. This was the norm. Because, John had a tendency to make his fellow founding fathers go…

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When it appeared the American colonies would declare independence from Great Britain—because, they decided, they didn’t need some guy in a crushed velvet robe, sitting on a throne, telling them what was best for them. That they, in fact, could self-govern…Abigail exercised her two cents.

[Quick refresher: the founding fathers met in Philadelphia. Abigail was in Massachusetts. So she dealt with war, the smallpox epidemic, the farm, and her children while her husband was in Philly (think about that the next time you complain about traffic)].

She wrote to her husband and asked him to ‘remember the ladies’:

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“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.”

So, while you declare independence, don’t forget about us, John. That all men—and women—are created equal in this declaration you, Benjamin Franklin, and Tommy J write.

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And that’s how we got our name. From Abigail. She asked that the founding fathers remember women in the new code of laws they established. And we ask the same thing today—in our laws, in our textbooks, in our lives.

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