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“If ye love wealth greater than liberty, the tranquility of servitude greater than the animating contest for freedom, go home from us in peace. We seek not your counsel, nor your arms. Crouch down and lick the hand that feeds you; May your chains set lightly upon you, and may posterity forget that ye were our countrymen.”
Samuel Adams
American Patriot & Politician, 1722 - 1803

Samuel Adams was born in Boston, Massachusetts on September 27, 1722.. He was a leader of the fight against British colonial rule, and a signer of the Declaration of Independence. Adams was a cousin of John Adams who became the second President of the United States.

Adams' father, a deacon of the church and successful brewer, played a prominent role in Boston politics. When Samuel was a young man, the royal government ruled the senior Adams' investments illegal, ruining him financially. This may have been the cause of Samuel's animosity toward and opposition to colonial authority.

Samuel Adams graduated in 1743 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 legislature. He lead the effort to establish a committee of correspondence that published a Declaration of Colonial Rights he had written.

Adams was a vocal opponent of several laws passed by the British Parliament to raise revenue in the American Colonies. By 1773, Adams and his Boston associates had pressured England to rescind all these measures but one, the Tea Act. The Tea Act granted the British East India company a monopoly on the sale of tea to the colonies, and included a tax paid to the British crown. 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 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 town meetings. Adams then urged a general boycott of British trade by the American Colonies.

In 1774 the Massachusetts legislature send 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.

Adams 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.

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Resource Menu
Books About Samuel Adams

Samuel Adams: A Life Samuel Adams: A Life
by Ira Stoll

"In order to understand the moral and religious roots of America's zeal for liberty, you need to know and appreciate Samuel Adams. Ira Stoll does a glorious job bringing to life this agitated and revolutionary apostle of liberty, whose passions still reverberate in our nation's soul. This book will help you understand our founding, and our future." — Walter Isaacson

Purchase this hardcover edition of Samuel Adams: A Life

Samuel Adams: Father of the American Revolution Samuel Adams: Father of the American Revolution
by Mark Puls

"A brief, sharply focused biography of the mastermind behind the American colonies break with England, and the drive for independence...Fully restores Adams to his rightful place as an indispensable provocateur of American liberty." — Kirkus

Purchase this hardcover edition of Samuel Adams: Father of the American Revolution

Samuel Adams: Radical Puritan Samuel Adams: Radical Puritan
by Lillian M. Fowler, William M., Jr. Fowler, Oscar Handlin

Biography of American purtian, patriot and founding father from the "Library of American Biographies"

Purchase this paperback edition of Samuel Adams: Radical Puritan

The Glorious Cause The Glorious Cause: The American Revolution, 1763-1789
by Robert Middlekauff

The actual events of the American Revolution were far more complex than many books on the subject present. Robert Middlekauff separates the real from the mythic in this vividly told account of the founding of the United States of America.

Purchase this hardcover edition of The Glorious Cause

DVDs About Samuel Adams/American Revolution

The History Channel Presents The Revolution The History Channel Presents The Revolution

This History Channel presentation tells the story of a remarkable group of ordinary individuals who transformed themselves into architects of the future and built a new nation unlike any that had come before - The United States of America.

Purchase this DVD edition of The History Channel Presents The Revolution

Liberty! The American Revolution Liberty! The American Revolution

A dramatic documentary about the birth of the American Republic and the struggle of a loosely connected group of states to become a nation. The George Foster Peabody award-winning series brings the people, events and ideas of the revolution to life through military reenactments and dramatic recreations performed by a distinguished cast.

Purchase this DVD edition of Liberty! The American Revolution

Samuel Adams/American Revolution Online Videos

Causes of the First American Revolution

The American Revolution: 1776 in 5 parts:
PART 1/5 - PART 2/2 - PART 3/3 - PART 4/4 - PART 5/5

Related Websites

Samuel Adams
Colonial Hall's Look At An American Founder


Liberty! The American Revolution
Companion website for the PBS series

An Extensive Collection of Adams' Original Writings
Collected and edited by H.A. Cushing, 1904

The Rights of the Colonists
Samuel Adams in a Report of the Committee of Correspondence to the Boston Town Meeting, Nov. 20, 1772

Samuel Adams on American Independence
Speech delivered at the State House in Philadelphia on August 1, 1776

The Dalai Lama

Other Founding Fathers in the Lucidcafé Library

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