Thursday, April 28, 2016

Heroine of the American Revolution


Mercy Otis Warren wrote the first history of the Revolutionary War. She should know. She was there.


Warren was a Massachusetts author who was one of the first women to publish independent works concerning political issues. Mercy got her start before the War officially began because she wanted to do something to reach the common people with revolutionary ideas. These papers and plays were often satirical and almost exclusively aimed to undermine royal authority. After gaining financial support from John Adams, her works alarmed readers about British attacks on colonial liberties and helped to spread the charge for independence. She could not put her name on the plays, as making fun of the British carried a high price - punishment and possibly jail time. 

She was also casual correspondent and adviser to John Hancock, Samuel Adams, Thomas Jefferson, George Washington, Patrick Henry, and John Adams, her literary mentor. 

With her husband gone off to fight, Mercy decided to write the history of the American Revolution using her notes from meetings and conversations. Her efforts were published in 1805, History of the Rise, Progress, and Termination of the American Revolution.
It was the first history of the Revolution penned by a woman (and she published it under her own name, rather than adopting a man’s).