The extraordinary love affair between John and Abigail Adams is well documented through their letters to one another; many of which provide the lyrics and dialogue in the musical 1776. She indeed was not a "pale, puny thing."
Abigial Adams was born Abigail Smith on November 11, 1744 in Weymouth, Massachusetts, the daughter of a clergyman. She was raised by her grandmother. She and John Adams were married in 1764, and while John practiced law over the next ten years the couple gave birth to two daughters and three sons. As John became busier serving their country during the events surrounding the American Revolution, Abigail endured the long separations from John and successfully raised their children during extremely difficult times - wartime shortages, inflation, little hired help, home schooling of her children when schooling became unavailable, and incredible loneliness. Famous for her long and endearing letters of love and advice to her husband during his absences (more than half their married life was spent away from each other), she truly had a great hand in guiding John Adams' political career. This working political relationship continued from John's appointment as a diplomatic envoy in Paris to then becoming the first United States Minister to Great Britain, through John's tenure then as the first Vice President and then the second President of the United States. Abigail and John retired to Quincy, Massachusetts in 1801. Abigail died on October 28, 1818, and she and John are buried beside each other at United First Parish Church in Quincy.
She is known for her request that he and the Continental Congress:
...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. If particular care and attention is not paid to the Ladies we are determined to foment a Rebellion, and will not hold ourselves bound by any Laws in which we have no voice, or Representation.
John answered:...as to your extraordinary code of laws, I cannot but laugh...Depend upon it, we know better Than to repeal our masculine systems.
If we mean to have heroes, statesmen and philosophers, we should have learned women.