Mercy Otis Warren

Mercy Otis Warren, 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).

The Columbia Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright© 2015, The Columbia University Press.

Mercy Otis Warren: Selected full-text books and articles

Ladies for Liberty: Women Who Made a Difference in American History By John Blundell Algora, 2011
Librarian’s tip: Chap. 1 "Mercy Otis Warren"
The Group. 1779 By Mercy Otis Warren William L. Clements Library, University of Michigan, 1953
The Fair Sex: White Women and Racial Patriarchy in the Early American Republic By Pauline Schloesser New York University Press, 2002
Librarian’s tip: Chap. 4 "The Philosopher Queen and the U.S. Constitution: Mercy Otis Warren as a Reluctant Signatory"
Theatre, Society, and the Nation: Staging American Identities By S. E. Wilmer Cambridge University Press, 2002
Librarian’s tip: Discussion of Mercy Otis Warren's plays and poems begins on p. 39
American Women Writers to 1800 By Sharon M. Harris Oxford University Press, 1996
Librarian’s tip: "Abigail Smith Adams (1744-1818, Massachusetts) and Mercy Otis Warren (1728-1814, Massachusetts)" begins on p. 239
Republicanism and Liberalism in America and the German States, 1750-1850 By Jürgen Heideking; James A. Henretta; Peter Becker Cambridge University Press, 2002
Librarian’s tip: Chap. 6 "Between Liberalism and Republicanism:'Manners' in the Political Thought of Mercy Otis Warren"
Mercy Otis Warren: Selected Letters By Mercy Otis Warren; Sharon M. Harris; Jeffrey H. Richards University of Georgia Press, 2009
The Language of the Constitution By Thurston Greene; Stuart B. Flexner; Douglas M. Arnold; Christopher Collier; Dominick Egan Greenwood Press, 1991
Librarian’s tip: Includes excerpts from Mercy Otis Warren's "Observations on the New Constitution" throughout
The Writings of George Washington from the Original Manuscript Sources, 1745-1799 By George Washington; John C. Fitzpatrick Government Printing Office, vol.31, 1939
Librarian’s tip: "To Mercy Otis Warren, June 4" begins on p. 48 and "To Mercy Otis Warren, November 4" begins on p. 144
Worthy Partner: The Papers of Martha Washington By Martha Washington; Joseph E. Fields Greenwood Press, 1994
Librarian’s tip: Includes letters from Martha Washington to Mercy Otis Warren
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