Mercy Otis Warren published propaganda plays and pamphlets in the years leading up to the Revolutionary War. In 1805, she published the three-volume "History of the Rise, Progress, and Termination of the American Revolution," in which she negatively portrayed John Adams as pro-monarchy and ambitious.
Despite not receiving formal education as a girl, she learned to read and write and sat in on her brother's tutoring sessions. Her husband, James Warren, and her brother, James Otis, Jr., were involved in efforts to break away from British rule. She counted John and Abigail Adams and Thomas Jefferson among her friends and frequently corresponded with them. She published some of these letters in her history of the American Revolution.
She supported efforts to solidify opposition to the British by publishing propaganda plays. Her first, "The Adulateur: A Tragedy," skewered Thomas Hutchinson, then governor of the Massachusetts colony. She followed this with "The Defeat," "The Group," "The Blockheads; or, The Affrighted Officers" and "The Motley Assembly." Though some of these were published anonymously, historians credit Mercy as author. She continued publishing after the Revolutionary War. Her "Poems, Dramatic and Miscellaneous" criticized American aristocratic tendencies and broached the idea of getting more women involved in public issues.
Publishing her history of the American Revolution soured her friendship with John and Abigail Adams, though they reconciled before her death in 1814. In 2002, Mercy Otis Warren was inducted into the National Women's Hall of Fame.