Samuel Adams

Samuel Adams (September 27 [O.S. September 16] 1722 – October 2, 1803) was an American statesman, political philosopher, and a Founding Father of the United States. He was a politician in colonial Massachusetts, a leader of the movement that became the American Revolution, and one of the architects of the principles of American republicanism that shaped the political culture of the United States. He was a second cousin to his fellow Founding Father, President John Adams.

Samuel Adams
In this c.1772 portrait by John Singleton Copley, Adams points at the Massachusetts Charter, which he viewed as a constitution that protected the peoples' rights.[1][2][3][4]
4th Governor of Massachusetts
In office
October 8, 1794  June 2, 1797
LieutenantMoses Gill
Preceded byJohn Hancock
Succeeded byIncrease Sumner
3rd Lieutenant Governor of Massachusetts
In office
1789–1794
Acting Governor
October 8, 1793 – 1794
GovernorJohn Hancock
Preceded byBenjamin Lincoln
Succeeded byMoses Gill
President of the Massachusetts Senate
In office
1787–1788
1782–1785
Delegate from Massachusetts to the Continental Congress
In office
1774–1777
In office
1779–1781
Clerk of the Massachusetts House of Representatives
In office
1766–1774
Personal details
BornSeptember 27 [O.S. September 16] 1722
Boston, Massachusetts Bay
DiedOctober 2, 1803(1803-10-02) (aged 81)
Cambridge, Massachusetts, U.S.
Resting placeGranary Burying Ground, Boston
Political partyDemocratic-Republican (1790s)
Spouse(s)
Elizabeth Checkley
(m. 1749; died 1757)

Elizabeth Wells
(m. 1764)
Alma materHarvard College
Signature

Adams was born in Boston, brought up in a religious and politically active family. A graduate of Harvard College, he was an unsuccessful businessman and tax collector before concentrating on politics. He was an influential official of the Massachusetts House of Representatives and the Boston Town Meeting in the 1760s, and he became a part of a movement opposed to the British Parliament's efforts to tax the British American colonies without their consent. His 1768 Massachusetts Circular Letter calling for colonial non-cooperation prompted the occupation of Boston by British soldiers, eventually resulting in the Boston Massacre of 1770. Adams and his colleagues devised a committee of correspondence system in 1772 to help coordinate resistance to what he saw as the British government's attempts to violate the British Constitution at the expense of the colonies, which linked like-minded Patriots throughout the Thirteen Colonies. Continued resistance to British policy resulted in the 1773 Boston Tea Party and the coming of the American Revolution. Adams was actively involved with colonial newspapers publishing accounts of colonial sentiment over British colonial rule, which were fundamental in uniting the colonies.

Parliament passed the Coercive Acts in 1774, at which time Adams attended the Continental Congress in Philadelphia which was convened to coordinate a colonial response. He helped guide Congress towards issuing the Continental Association in 1774 and the Declaration of Independence in 1776, and he helped draft the Articles of Confederation and the Massachusetts Constitution. Adams returned to Massachusetts after the American Revolution, where he served in the state senate and was eventually elected governor.

Samuel Adams later became a controversial figure in American history. Accounts written in the 19th century praised him as someone who had been steering his fellow colonists towards independence long before the outbreak of the Revolutionary War. This view was challenged by negative assessments of Adams in the first half of the 20th century, mostly by British historians, in which he was portrayed as a master of propaganda who provoked "mob violence" to achieve his goals. However, according to biographer Mark Puls, a different account emerges upon examination of Adams' many writings regarding the civil rights of the colonists, while the "mob" referred to were a highly reflective group of men inspired by Adams who made his case with reasoned arguments in pamphlets and newspapers, without the use of emotional rhetoric.[5]


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