Mercy Otis Warren was a historian of the Revolutionary War and the writing of the Constitution. She was a voice during the period.
An excerpt from Lawrence Reed’s book: Real Hero’s.
Her last major work was History of the Rise, Progress, and Termination of the American Revolution. Appearing it 1805, it was the first important history of the period from 1765 to 1789. President Jefferson ordered copies for himself and for every member of his cabinet and no doubt took note of her concern for the country’s future. She wrote: The people of the United States are bound together in sacred compact and a union of interests which ought never to be separated. But the confederation is recent, and their experience immatured; they are, however, generally sensible … [understanding that history demonstrates that] deception as well as violence have operated to the subversion of the freedom of the people.
Warren was deeply offended when President John Adams signed into law the infamous Alien and Sedition Acts in 1798. They led to the closure of newspapers critical of the administration, which Warren saw as the grossest violation of American liberty—and she said so without reservation. Her fierce objections strained her relationship with the president but did not injure her long-standing friendship with his wife, Abigail. Warren’s warnings against a postwar lapse in revolutionary principles helped bring about the ouster of John Adams and the election of Thomas Jefferson in 1800.
Warren knew full well that the imperfect Constitution, even improved with a Bill of Rights, was still a scrap of paper. Whether or not it lived to protect Americans’ hard-won freedom depended on the wisdom and spirit of the people. She had already witnessed a dismaying retreat from constitutional principles in the Adams administration. She worried that with the passing of the revolutionary generation, future Americans might embrace diminutions of their liberties through moral corruption, false promises, lies, and unprincipled compromise. “The characters of nations,” she observed, “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 [i.e., personal character].”