Warren, Mercy Otis

Warren, Mercy Otis, 1728–1814, American writer, b. Barnstable, Mass.; sister of James Otis 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).

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