American Patriot & Politician
To know Samuel Adams the person, one must look far back to the earliest days of his life and move forward from there. To know Adams the American Patriot, one must be aware of this politician's tremendous efforts from within the early United States government. The following biography will examine both sides of this American founding father.
Samuel Adams was born in Boston, Massachusetts on September 27, 1722. One could have guessed that this infant would grow to be a leader of the fight against British colonial rule, and a signer of the Declaration of Independence. Success was in his blood. His father was Samuel Adams and his mother was Mary Fifield. Adams was a cousin of John Adams who became President of the United States.
As a young child, Samuel spent his elementary school days at Boston Latin. Academics quickly became his forte and at age fourteen he enrolled in Harvard College. Four years later, a member of the Class of 1743, Samuel Adams graduated from Harvard College with a Master of Arts degree. After college he entered private business, and throughout this period was an outspoken participant in Boston town meetings. When his business failed in 1764 Adams entered politics full-time, and was elected to the Massachusetts State legislature.
Adams led the effort to establish a committee of correspondence that published a Declaration of Colonial Rights that he had written. He was a vocal opponent of several laws passed by the British Parliament to raise revenue in the American Colonies, including the Tea Act which gave a British trading company a monopoly on the import of tea into the colonies. This opposition reached its peak on December 16, 1773 when a group of Bostonians dumped a British cargo of tea into Boston Harbor. This act of resistance is referred to, and will be forever remembered as the "Boston Tea Party".
The British Parliament responded to the "Boston Tea Party" by passing a set of laws referred to as the "Intolerable Acts." These laws included the closing of Boston Harbor and the restriction of town meetings. Adams responded by urging a general boycott of British trade by the American Colonies. In 1774 the Massachusetts legislature sent Adams and four others as its representatives to the First Continental Congress. Adams served Massachusetts again at the Second Continental Congress where he was an advocate for independence and confederation for the American Colonies. He served Continental Congress until his return to Boston in 1781. He initially opposed the new Constitution of the United States, but finally supported its ratification in Massachusetts. Adams served as Governor of Massachusetts from 1793 to 1797.
"Born in Boston, died in Boston" might be a good epitaph for Samuel Adams, as noted by William Fowler in his book Samuel Adams - Radical Puritan. Adams died a peaceful death on October 3, 1803. His contributons to the success of our nation can never be forgotten, and his dedication to the rights of Americans should never go without recognition.
Fowler, W. (1997). Samuel Adams: Radical Puritan. Addison Wesley Longman.