Mercy Otis Warren, a second-class citizen


America was settled by Europeans primarily from the United Kingdom who came seeking religious freedom, economic opportunity and opportunity to found new communities and social organizations and from slaves. In 161919 the first slaves were brought by Dutch merchants.

Life was not easy. The colonists (both Europeans and slaves) faced Indian rapists and diseases such as malaria and typhoid. Life in the colonies was different from living abroad in other ways. Many children died in infancy; the adults were dying leaving their children to grow up with relatives, family friends or foster parents. Marriage and the creation of pastoral families were common.

It was a departure from the norm the colonists were accustomed to in Europe where the nuclear family prevailed. (Steoff, 2003, p. 57)

In the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, the roles of men and women were established by the parents and religious leaders of their communities. Colonial men worked in crafts or owned businesses such as farms. Colonial women used to spin, weave and sew dresses; cooked; cleaned; gardener; wash and iron; chopped wood and raised and educated their children.

Women were expected to obey their fathers, husbands or other male relatives and become wives and mothers. (Micklos, 2013, pp. 5 – 12)

Nevertheless, these differences and difficulties have led some women to stand out from the rest.

Mercy Otis Warren was born into a wealthy family in West Barnstable, Massachusetts. Mercy was not a typical girl even during the times she lived. Her father was a travel lawyer and a member of the Massachusetts House of Representatives bringing home the latest political news from Boston. His two oldest children Mercy and her brother James (Jemmy) were found by colonists & # 39; the conflicts with the UK are fascinating.

Like her sisters, Mercy was educated at home. Mr Otis, however, believed that girls, as well as boys, should be taught to read and write in order for the two eldest children, Mercy and Jemmy, to be taught at home by the minister. Mercy adored reading and history. Her favorite book was Sir Walter Raleigh History of the world.

When he was old, Jemmy enrolled at Harvard. Mercy stayed home because women were not allowed to go to college. She could, however, devour the books Jemmy brought home, especially the writings of the radical philosopher John Locke.

Locke wrote about freedom and the natural rights of man. He also wrote about the social contract. Trustees, he believes, have created governments to protect their lives, liberties and prosperity. When the government threatened these rights, it violated the social contract. This meant that the people could change or even establish a government. (Woelfle, 2012, p. 5)

Although the colonists created new communities and social organizations, they regarded themselves as subjects of Great Britain. Influenced by the ideas of Locke and the Enlightenment, the colonists began to question this relationship, arguing that they should have greater control over their local government. (Steoff, 2003, p. 96)

When Jemmy graduated from college, Mercy attended his graduation ceremony and graduation parties. It was there that she met her friend Jemmy and her future husband James Warren. He was a farmer and like her father, a politician. James was not afraid of smart women. They married and raised five sons together on a farm in Plymouth, Massachusetts.

Mercy raised children and ran a family farm, but in her spare time, she secretly wrote and published poems and plays.

While life in Plymouth was quiet and busy for the Warren family, Samuel Adams and the Sons of Liberty rebelled over taxes levied on colonists by the British government in nearby Boston.

Neighboring communities like Plymouth joined the protests that eventually laid the foundations for the American Revolution.

Women like Mercy who were influenced by the ideas of the Enlightenment and the colonists & # 39; protests, they would soon join their husbands, fathers and brothers in the fight to create a new republic. Women visited military camps and sewed clothes, nursed and fed soldiers. They spied on the Patriots and even wore men's clothing and fought numerous battles.

Warren's home became the meeting place for revolutionaries and intellectuals. They set out there plans for a Continental Congress that forced Mercy to call her home "One Freedom Square."

Mercy participated proudly and courageously in the planning sessions.

During this period she began regular correspondence with Benjamin Franklin, Thomas Jefferson, and Abigail Adams, whose husband John became the second president of United United. These friendships lasted most of her life.

Mercy continued to write and publish political songs and plays that were in favor of the rebellion and revolution during the Revolutionary War.

She used the pseudonym Fidelia for these songs and plays that were deliberately anti-British. At Model Celebration, sirens and other sea creatures enjoy sipping British tea during the 1773 Boston Tea Party.

The British did not know who wrote the works or Mercy would have been hanged for treason.

In 1775 James became General James Warren, but after the war brought tragedy to the Mercy family. In 1783, Jemmy was struck by lightning and he died. Mercy and James lost their son Charles in 1785 to tuberculosis. Another son, Winslow, joined the army and was killed in the Indian raid in 1791. 1800 died of fever.

Warren was spotted in the couch A History of the Rise, Progress, and Interruption of the American Revolution Interspersed with Biographical, Political, and Moral Observations published in 1805, when she was seventy-seven. She could sign the manuscript, "Mrs. Mercy Warren of Plymouth, Massachusetts." It is considered the first history of the conflict between America and Britain.

Colonial widows, unlike most women, enjoyed a life of independence. Many had the experience of helping their husbands with their family or business and when their spouse died, they took over day-to-day operations.

Mercy Otis Warren was no different. Through all her personal tragedies, Mercy continued to write, manage a farm and support a new nation, the United States of America.

Mercy died in 1814. Mercy and James were buried in Old Burial Hill in Plymouth, Massachusetts.


Micklos, John. The brave women and children of the American Revolution. Berkeley Heights, NJ: Enslow Publishers, Inc. 2009

Steoff, Rebecca. Colonial life. NY: Marshall Cavendish, 2003.

Woeffle, Gretchen. Write, Mercy! Otis Warren's Secret Life of Mercy. Honesdale, PA: Calking Creek Books, 2012.