Elizabeth A. Sackler Center for Feminist Art: The Dinner Party: Heritage Floor: Mercy Otis Warren

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John Singleton Copley. Mrs. James Warren (Mercy Otis), about 1763. Museum of Fine Arts, Boston

Mercy Otis Warren
b. 1728, Barnstable, Massachusetts; d. 1814, Plymouth, Massachusetts

Poet, dramatist, and historian of the American Revolutionary period, Mercy Otis married James Warren, an early agitator for independence, in 1754. Their home in Plymouth, Massachusetts, became a center for political meetings, where future Revolutionary leaders formulated the colonies' grievances. Warren contributed to the ferment a series of plays—The Adulateur (1772), The Defeat (1773), The Group (1775)—satirizing royal authority and urging resistance. Like her friend Abigail Adams, Warren supported equality of education for women, although, again like Adams, she did not advocate an extension of political rights. The crowning achievement of Warren's career, History of the Rise, Progress, and Termination of the American Revolution (1805), reveals her deep understanding and commitment to Enlightenment ideals.

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