Mercy Otis Warren

Mercy Otis Warren

Mercy Otis Warren was called “The Conscience of the American Revolution.” She was sister of patriot James Otis. Her husband was Massachusetts House Speaker James Warren. Mercy Otis Warren corresponded with many American leaders, including: Franklin, Jefferson, Hamilton and John Adams.

In 1805, Mercy Otis Warren published a three-volume “History of the Rise, Progress and Termination of the American Revolution.” In her work, “Observations on the new Constitution, and on the Federal and State Conventions,” 1788, Mercy Otis Warren wrote:

  • “The immediate gift of the Creator obliges every one … to resist the first approaches of tyranny which at this day threaten to sweep away the rights for which the brave Sons of America have fought. …”
  • “Behold the insidious efforts of the partisans of arbitrary power … to lock the strong chains of domestic despotism on a country. …”
  • “Save us from anarchy on the one hand, and the jaws of tyranny on the other. …”
  • “It has been observed … that ‘the virtues and vices of a people’ when a revolution happens in their government, are the measure of the liberty or slavery they ought to expect.”

Mercy Otis Warren continued: “And when asked, what is become of the rich produce of their farms – they may answer in the hapless style of the Man of La Mancha, ‘The steward of my Lord has seized and sent it to Madrid.’ Or, in the more literal language … government requires that the collectors of the revenue should transmit it to the federal city.”

America’s founder’s rejected “the divine right of the king.”

Instead of power flowing from the Creator to the king then to the people, they set up a government where power flowed from the Creator directly to the people who choose their leaders from among themselves.

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In “Observations on the New Constitution,” 1788, Mercy Otis Warren stated: “Monarchy is a species of government fit only for a people too much corrupted by luxury, avarice, and a passion for pleasure, to have any love for their country. … Monarchy is … by no means calculated for a nation that is … tenacious of their liberty – animated with a disgust to tyranny – and inspired with the generous feeling of patriotism.”

Mercy Otis Warren concluded: “The origin of all power is in the people, and they have an incontestable right to check the creatures of their own creation.”

George Washington wrote in his farewell address: “This government, the offspring of our own choice uninfluenced and unawed … and containing within itself a provision for its own amendment, has a just claim to your confidence and support.”

James Madison wrote: “As the people are the only legitimate fountain of power … it is from them that the constitutional charter under which the (authority of the) several branches of government … is derived.”

Alexander Hamilton wrote: “The fabric of American empire ought to rest on the solid basis of the consent of the people. The streams of national power ought to flow immediately from that pure, original fountain of all legitimate authority.”

John Adams wrote: “Thirteen governments (of the original States) thus founded on the natural authority of the people alone.”

Mercy Otis Warren and Abigail Adams were two of the most influential women of the Revolutionary War era. Abigail Adams, wife of second president and mother of the sixth president, wrote to Mercy Otis Warren, Nov. 5, 1775: “A patriot without religion in my estimation is as great a paradox as an honest Man without the fear of God. Is it possible that he whom no moral obligations bind, can have any real Good Will towards Men?”

Abigail Adams continued in her letter to Mercy Otis Warren: “Can he be a patriot who, by an openly vicious conduct, is undermining the very bonds of Society, corrupting the Morals of Youth, and by his bad example injuring the very Country he professes to patronize more than he can possibly compensate by intrepidity, generosity and honour? … Scriptures tell us ‘righteousness exalteth a Nation.'”

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