James and Barbara Rose

John Adams on “The Manners of Women”
(from his Autobiography)
“From all that I had read of History of Government, human life and manners, I have drawn this conclusion, that the manners of women were the most infallible Barometer, to ascertain the degree of Morality and Virtue in a Nation. All that I have since read and all the observations I have made in different Nations, have confirmed me in this opinion. The Manners of Women are the surest Criterion by which to determine whether a Republican Government is practicable, in a Nation or not. The Jews, the Greeks, the Romans . . . all lost their public Spirit, their

Republican Principles and habits, and their Republican Forms of Government, when they lost the Modesty and Domestic Virtues of their Women . . .
“The foundations of national Morality must be laid in private Families. In vain are Schools, Academies and universities instituted, if loose Principles and licentious habits are impressed upon Children in their earliest years. The Mothers are the earliest and most important Instructors of youth . . .” (June 2, 1778)
Lydia Sigourney wrote: “Demand of her as a debt the highest excellence which she is capable of attaining. Summon her to abandon selfish motives and inglorious ease. Incite her to those virtues which promote the permanence and health of nations. Make her accountable for the character of the next generation. . . Gird her with the whole armour of education and piety, and see if she be not faithful to her children, to her country, and to her God.”
“. . . For the strength of a nation, especially of a republican nation, is in the intelligent and well-ordered homes of the people. And in proportion as the discipline of families is relaxed, will the happy organization of communities be affected, and national character become vagrant, turbulent, or ripe for revolution.” (Letters to Young Ladies, 1851)

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