Warren, Mercy Otis

Warren, Mercy Otis,

1728–1814, American writer, b. Barnstable, Mass.; sister of James OtisOtis, James,
1725–83, American colonial political leader, b. Barnstable co., Mass. A lawyer first in Plymouth and then in Boston, he won great distinction and served (1756–61) as advocate general of the vice admiralty court.
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 and wife of James Warren, who was speaker of the Massachusetts house of representatives. An ardent patriot, she conducted a political salon during the pre-Revolutionary days and wrote two satirical plays, The Adulateur (1773) and The Group (1775), against the Tories. Well acquainted with many leaders of the Revolution, she urged, unsuccessfully, that equal rights for women be included in the U.S. Constitution, and outlined her objections to that document as originally drafted in Observations on the New Constitution … by a Columbian Patriot (1788). Many of her criticisms were met by the Bill of Rights and later amendments. Her history of the American Revolution (3 vol., 1805) is still important for factual information as well as for its sketches of contemporary figures.


See studies by K. S. Anthony (1958, repr. 1972) and J. Fritz (1972).

Warren, Mercy Otis

(1728–1814) historian, poet; born in Barnstable, Mass. (sister of James Otis, aunt of Harrison G. Otis). She married James Warren (1754) and had five sons. In addition to publishing poetry and plays, she published historical works including Observations on the New Constitution (1788) and History of the Rise, Progress, and Termination of the American Revolution (1805). She corresponded at length with Abigail Adams, John Adams, and other leading political figures and is arguably America's first major female intellectual.
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A sister of the patriot <IR> JAMES OTIS </IR> and wife of General James Warren, Mercy Otis Warren was born on Cape Cod.