Posts Tagged ‘Mercy Otis Warren’

From the Conscience of America

June 15, 2016
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By Dahni
© 2016, all rights reserved

MercyOwenWarren_smIn John Dickinson was the “penman” of the American Revolution (and he was) see: http://wp.me/pGfx1-wy, Mercy Otis Warren was the “Conscience of the American Revolution,”

Mercy Otis Warren accomplished things unknown to women in her time. She was a prolific and influential writer, the first woman playwright, wrote the first history of the American Revolutionary War (by a man or a woman), and influenced most of our founders, as well as speaking up for women’s rights.

John Adams, later the second president of the United States, once told Mercy’s husband in a letter:

“Tell your wife that God Almighty has entrusted her with the Powers for the good of the World, which … he bestows on few of the human race. That instead of being a fault to use them, it would be criminal to neglect them.”

(Schweitzer, Ivy. The Heath Anthology of American Literature. Fifth ed. CENGAGE Learning. Lauter, Paul ed. 2 Apr. 2011.)

She counted both John and Abigail Adams among her friends, and she influenced such great names as George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Samuel Adams, John Hancock, and Patrick Henry.

Mercy never had a formal education, like many girls of her time. For the most part, only boys received a thorough education, though she was allowed to sit in some of her older brother’s classes with a tutor. The Rev. Jonathon Russell, however, the minister of the local parish, took pity on her and supplied her with both books and counsel.

As she became older, it was her brother, James Otis, who became her companion in literary pursuits. It is he who is rumored to have said, “Taxation without representation is tyranny.”

When her husband realized she could speak more clearly than he ever could, he encouraged her to write about her convictions. James Warren affectionately dubbed his wife his “scribbler.” Together, they helped motivate the patriots to freedom. Their house even became a meeting place for the Sons of Liberty.

In 1774, she described the American situation as follows:

“America stands armed with resolution and virtue; but she still recoils at the idea of drawing the sword against the nation from whence she derived her origin. Yet Britain, like an unnatural parent, is ready to plunge her dagger into the bosom of her affectionate offspring. But may we not hope for more lenient measures!”

Mercy Otis Warren

“Our situation is truly delicate & critical. On the one hand we are in need of a strong federal government founded on principles that will support the prosperity & union of the colonies. On the other we have struggled for liberty & made costly sacrifices at her shrine and there are still many among us who revere her name too much to relinquish (beyond a certain medium) the rights of man for the dignity of government.”

Mercy Otis Warren

“I have my fears. Yet, notwithstanding the complicated difficulties that rise before us, there is no receding; and I should blush if in any instance the weak passions of my sex should damp the fortitude, the patriotism, and the manly resolution of yours. May nothing ever check that glorious spirit of freedom which inspires the patriot in the cabinet, and the hero in the field, with courage to maintain their righteous cause, and to endeavor to transmit the claim to posterity, even if they must seal the rich conveyance to their children with their own blood.”

Mercy Otis Warren

Mercy Otis Warren was a woman on fire for what she held dearly. If she wasn’t able to speak her opinions, she wrote them down. Her writings contained her beliefs, thoughts, and opinions about wars and political issues.

She wrote her last book, History of the Rise, Progress, and Termination of the American Revolution, in 1805. President Jefferson ordered advance copies for himself and every cabinet member in the White House.

Mercy Otis Warren died on October 19, 1814. The cause of death is unknown. She was 86 years old. She was buried at Old Burial Hill in Plymouth, Massachusetts beside her husband, James Warren, who had died in 1808. In her honor a warship which fought in World War II was called the SS Mercy Warren.

Mercy was inducted into the Woman’s Hall of Fame in Seneca Falls, New York in 2002. The legacy she left behind is amazing.

“Seldom has one woman in any age, acquired such an ascendancy over the strongest, by the mere force of a powerful intellect. She is said to have supplied political parties with their arguments; and she was the first of her sex in America who taught the reading world in matters of state policy and history. (Ellet, Elizabeth. “Mercy Warren.”

“The Women of the American Revolution. Three Rivers. Accessed 2 Apr. 2011.)

Mercy Otis Warren’s life encourages women to speak up. Mercy’s example can be followed in many ways. She spoke up when she needed to, and everyone benefited from the things she said. She was inspirational and worth remembering as a builder of our nation.

With all due respect to first lady Martha Washington, wife of George, our first president, who was the very first woman ever honored on our paper currency, on a silver dollar certificate in the late 19th century, it should have been the first lady of the Revolution, the Conscience of America, Mercy Otis Warren!

With all due respect to Harriet Tubman, an anti-slavery icon, whose image is to replace Andrew Jackson on the twenty-dollar bill, it should have been to honor, the Conscience of America, and voice against slavery many year her prior, Mercy Otis Warren!

With all due respect to Susan B. Anthony, Frederick Douglas, the Seneca Falls (NY) convention, Elizabeth Cady Stanton, Carrie Chapman Catt, Lucretia Mott, Woman’s Suffrage, Women’s Rights and the right for women to vote, the first champion that should have been honored was, the Conscience of America, Mercy Otis Warren!

With all due respect to many women, the first woman to ever be a nominee for president or to become the first woman president should have been, the Conscience of America, Mercy Otis Warren!

 

1 of WE,

Dahni

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