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The Founding Mothers Whose Children Shaped Our Nation



May 10

3 min read

American Heritage



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Psalm 127:3–5 teaches: “Behold, children are a heritage from the Lord, the fruit of the womb a reward. Like arrows in the hand of a warrior are the children of one’s youth. Blessed is the man who fills his quiver with them! He shall not be put to shame when he speaks with his enemies in the gate.” And on Mother’s Day, we celebrate the mothers who raise their children to soar like arrows to whatever target God has prepared for them.

In a world turned upside down, heeding the call to instruct their children in the ways of the Lord may seem more daunting than ever. But this is not the first time in history that a mother’s convictions for her children have been met with challenging times. Mothers formed the bedrock of our nation, whether it was holding down the fort while their husbands were at war, traveling great distances to participate in the founding of America, or even raising their families alone as widows.

We often hear about the Founding Fathers of our great nation. But we must never forget the Founding Mothers who raised up our nation’s Founders. Here are four exemplary mothers who raised their children with excellence:

  1. Sarah Hext Rutledge was a mother of seven children. She was widowed at age 26 when her youngest son, Edward Rutledge, was just a year old. Even with a full house and countless responsibilities, Sarah ensured Edward was educated in the classics. At age 26, Edward Rutledge was the youngest signer of the Declaration of Independence. Sarah’s firstborn, John, was the first Governor of South Carolina.

  2. Margaret Wythe was an intelligent leader, proficient in the classics, Latin, and Greek. She passed on her love for learning to her son George Wythe, instilling a respect for his fellow man and a love for classical education. He became an educator and lawyer known for his pursuit of virtue. Among his students were future judges, governors, and even future Presidents Thomas Jefferson and James Monroe. George Wythe also signed the Declaration of Independence, listing his name first.

  3. Susanna Rush became a widow when her son Benjamin Rush was just six years old. She sold their farm and moved to Philadelphia, where she opened a store to provide for the family. She recognized her son’s God-given intellect and felt it was her duty to expand it. Benjamin was sent to be with his uncle, where he received an education and earned a degree at the age of 14. Benjamin was another signer of the Declaration of Independence and served as Surgeon General of the Continental Army. He was also a leader in the ratification of the Constitution.

  4. Abigail Adams was the wife of President John Adams and the mother of five children, including President John Quincy Adams. While Abigail had no formal education, she educated herself with the family library. She played a key role in managing the family farm, her husband’s business affairs, and raising their children. Her son John Quincy studied law and went on to become the sixth President of the United States.

These brave mothers persisted through every challenge, equipping their children for their future calling. While not all of these mothers’ names may be remembered, their children were arrows who fulfilled God’s purpose for their lives and changed our nation.

This Mother’s Day, the ACLJ celebrates mothers who each and every day shape the future of our great nation.

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