Samuel Adams was a distinguished patriot of the American Revolution. In fact, he is known as the Father of the Revolution. He was born on September 22, 1722, in Boston, Massachusetts. As a descendant of pilgrims, he was taught the principles of freedom from the time he was a baby. His father, a man of considerable wealth and also influence as a member of the Massachusetts Assembly, wanted Samuel to have a liberal education. After taking a preparatory course, Samuel entered Harvard College in Cambridge and received his degree in 1740 at age 18. Samuel was a quiet fellow and was very interested in gaining knowledge.
Samuel’s father wanted him to become a lawyer, but Samuel became an apprentice to Thomas Cushing, a distinguished merchant of Boston who became an active patriot. Even though his father provided financial support enough to have a business of his own, Samuel soon realized that he was more interested in politics than the mercantile profession. He soon became bankrupt because of his inability to keep his mind on his business.
When Samuel was 25, his father passed away. As the oldest son, the responsibilities and cares of the family and estate fell upon Samuel. Even though he had additional responsibilities, he could not keep his mind off the movements of the British government. He spent a great deal of time talking and writing about the oppressions of Great Britain and was in favor of resistance on the part of the colonies. When Great Britain passed the Stamp Act, Samuel took a firm stand against it and other bills to tax the colonies.
He started in 1763 boldly expressing his thoughts about the rights and privileges of the Americans. He wrote a paper offering guidance to the Boston members of the General Assembly stating that Parliament had no right to tax the colonies without their consent. He also suggested that the unification of the colonies for their protection against Britain. Samuel apparently was the first to express publicly such sentiments, which became the “spark that kindled the flame upon the altar of Freedom here” (Lives of the Signers of the Declaration of Independence, 35).
Samuel became a brilliant statesman but continued to be a poor businessman. Samuel was elected in 1765 to represent Boston in the General Assembly where he became distinguished for his intelligence and activity. He became the leader of the opposition to the royal governor and distained the governor’s moves to quiet him. He was one of the most active citizens in demanding that the British troops leave Boston in the aftermath of the Boston Massacre.
Samuel Adams of Massachusetts and Richard Henry Lee of Virginia proposed almost simultaneously that the colonies set up a system of Committees of Correspondence. This system helped to unify the colonies and also put a price on Samuel’s head. When Governor Gage offered to pardon everyone who would be loyal to the King, he particularly excluded Samuel Adams and John Hancock. Adams and Hancock gained in popularity because the people were angry at Gage.
Adams worked in secret to convince the colonies to appoint delegates to a general Congress and became one of the five delegates from Massachusetts. He took his seat in that Congress on September 5, 1774, and remained an active member of that body until 1781. He gladly signed the Declaration of Independence.
Adams retired from Congress but not from public life. He was a member of the committee that drafted a constitution for Massachusetts. He held several public offices successively – member of the Massachusetts senate, senate president, Lieutenant-Governor, and Governor. He was elected as governor each year until his age forced him to retire from public life.
Samuel married Elizabeth Checkley in October 1749. Five children were born to the couple but only two reached maturity. Mrs. Adams died July 25, 1757. Samuel married Elizabeth Wells about 1764. He died on October 3, 1803, at age 82.
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