Monday, January 25, 2016

Founding Mother

Benjamin Martin: May I sit with you.
Charlotte Selton: It's a free country. Or at least it will be.
--The Patriot

Nice background on Mercy Otis Warren, who may well be considered the Founding Mother of the United States. An accomplished writer and historian, she is viewed by many as the 'conscience of the revolution.'

Warren's 1772 anonymously written play, The Adulateur, foretold the coming revolution and enjoyed enthusiastic reception among liberty-hungry colonists. Producing much of her work anonymously, she gained traction as the patriots' secret pen.

Post revolution, she took a decidedly Anti-Federalist view of the Constitution as drafted from the 1787 convention. Warren wrote that the Constitution as written would "betray the people of the United States into an acceptance of a most complicated system of government" that, without explicit guarantees of individual rights, the Constitution would undermine the liberty that Americans had fought for. She proposed the addition of "a bill of rights to guard against the dangerous encroachments of power."

Through her influence and that of other Anti-Federalists, the Bill of Rights was amended to the Constitution.

In her later years Warren worried that future generations would give their liberty away through apathy, lies, and unprincipled compromise. She wrote,

"The characters of nations have been disgraced by their weak partialities, until their freedom has been irretrievably lost in that vortex of folly which throws a lethargy over the mind, till awakened by the fatal consequences which result from arbitrary power, disguised by specious pretexts amidst a general relaxation of manners [personal character]."

Lethargy of the mind, rise of arbitrary power, decline in personal character.

Mercy Otis Warren foresaw many of today's threats to liberty.

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