Olga's Gallery

Mercy Otis Warren


Mercy Otis Warren (1728-1814) -- American writer and playwright, who supported the Patriot cause. She was known as the "Conscience of the American Revolution" for her zealous support of the natural rights philosophy and democratic ideals. Mercy Otis was one of the first female authors to be published in the American colonies and set an important precedent for her successors.

She started her career as an author in the early years of the Revolution, anonymously publishing the play The Adulateur in 1772, an attack on the colonial governor of Massachusetts. This was followed by The Defeat (1773) and The Group (1775), two more satirical plays. Her most notable work, however, was a history of the American struggle for independence, published in 1805 and entitled History of the Rise, Progress and Termination of the American Revolution. The treatise provides a valuable contemporary view of the War of Independence. In 1790, she also published a collection of poetry called Poems, Dramatic and Miscellaneous. Much of her writing would, however, stay unpublished until almost two hundred years later.

In her later years, Mercy Otis became bitterly resentful of the restrictions society imposed upon women, particularly the lack of a formal education, and became one of the earliest proponents of the feminist cause.

See: John Singleton Copley. Mercy Otis Warren (Mrs. James Warren).

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