Social Circles and the Reformation of Female Manners

in Abigail and John Adams

Published by University of Chicago Press

Published in print November 2010 | ISBN: 9780226037431
Published online March 2013 | e-ISBN: 9780226037448 | DOI:
Social Circles and the Reformation of Female Manners

Show Summary Details


This chapter, which examines the views of John and Abigail Adams on social circles and the reformation of female manners, explains that in the late seventeenth century, women in Britain initiated the enjoyment of heterosocial minglings in a wider circle, which helped elevate the value of domesticity. Women's pleasure-seeking coincided with other forms of self-assertion, some of which were expressly feminist. The chapter also contends that women's confrontation with male hostility and predation was emblematized by the contemporary preoccupation with “virtue in distress,” which was the central trope of cultures of sensibility.

Keywords: social circles; female manners; John Adams; Abigail Adams; heterosocial mingling; value of domesticity; self-assertion; cultures of sensibility; male hostility

Chapter.  11968 words. 

Subjects: History of the Americas

Full text: subscription required

How to subscribe Recommend to my Librarian

Users without a subscription are not able to see the full content. Please, subscribe or login to access all content.