Patriot Samuel Adams
Early Life: 1722-1766
Samuel Adams' father, Old Samuel Adams, was a deacon in the Old South Church in Boston. Deacon Adams also served as justice of the peace, selectman and a Boston representative to the Massachusetts House of Representatives. Samuel was born in Boston on September 27, 1722. He graduated from Harvard in 1740. Though he began to study law, he soon gave it up. After securing a loan of 1,000 pounds from his father, Adams loaned half of that and lost the other half in an attempt to start his own business. He then joined his father in the family brewery.
In 1748, Samuel Adams' father died and his mother died not long after. He then inherited a sizeable estate which included a home on Purchase Street and the family brewery. Within ten years, he had spent most of it and creditors even attempted to seize his home. From 1756 to 1764, Adams worked as a tax collector, but accrued over 8,000 pounds in uncollected taxes. In 1764, Adams drafted instructions for Boston legislative representatives. In 1765, he again drafted instructions. On September 27, 1765, Adams was elected to the vacancy that Oxenbridge Thatcher had left. He was reelected in 1766 and would continuously serve until 1774.
Radical Revolutionary: 1766-1774
Sometime before 1764, Samuel Adams became prominent in politics in the popular party, which opposed Royal Lt. Governor Thomas Hutchinson. Soon after, Adams helped form the Sons of Liberty, which emerged from the Caucus Club, an influential popular political club started by his father. He soon assumed leadership of the radical faction that had gained control of the legislature. Adams immediately began attacking Hutchinson. Other than their opposing political views, he had a personal dislike of Hutchinson because Hutchinson had caused Adams' father a large financial loss when he led the movement to dissolve the Land Bank in 1741. Hutchinson had also charged Adams had "made defalcation" when Adams had worked as a tax collector.
Adams was prominant in his radical politics. He organized opposition to the Townshend Acts in 1767. He helped form the Non-Importation Association of 1768. Adams drafted the Massachusetts Circular Letter, which was adopted by the Massachusetts House of Representatives on February 11, 1768. Following the repeal of the Townshend Acts on April 12, 1768, Adams was the lone voice of rebellion. By 1771, Hutchinson, who was now Royal Governor, had singled out Adams as an instigator. Adams next worked on setting up a network for revolutionaries. On November 2, 1772, the Boston Town Meeting established a committee of correspondence for circulating information and coordinating efforts. This achievement by Adams basically established the structure for a underground rebellion state government and provided the blueprint for other colonies.
Adams used the Hutchinson Letters Affair in 1773 to stir up further discontent against the state's royal government including Royal Governor Hutchinson. The letters had urged tougher policies on the colonies by England. Adams also was prominant, at the urging of local merchants who profited from smuggling, in bringing about the Boston Tea Party on December 16, 1773. Adams then led the opposition to the Intolerable Acts in 1774. On June 17, 1774, Adams moved that Massachusetts send delegates to a colonial congress to unify efforts against the Intolerable Acts. It was passed and Adams was chosen as one of five delegates of what became the First Continental Congress. He also helped develop the Suffolk Resolves in September 1774.
Revolutionary War and After: 1775-1803
It's possible that Lexington and Concord was partly caused by British efforts to capture Samuel Adamshe and John Hancock. Adams signed the Declaration of Independence and faded to the background of revolutionary leadership. He continued to serve on the Continental Congress until 1781, but provided little of constructive value during his service. In April 1781, Adams returned to Boston. He was part of the convention that drafted the Massachusetts state constitution in 1779-1780. He then became a state senator. He ran for governor, but lost out to John Hancock. In 1788, he served on the convention that drafted the United States Constitution. He served as Lt. Governor from 1789 to 1783 and became Governor when Hancock died. He was then elected Governor in 1794 and served until 1797. He died in Boston on October 2, 1803.
2. Boatner, Michael; Encyclopedia of the American Revolution
Topic Last Updated: 8/16/2001
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