“Let us contemplate out forefathers, and posterity, and resolve to maintain the rights bequeathed to us from the former, for the sake of the latter. The necessity of the times, more than ever, calls for our utmost circumspection, deliberation, fortitude, and perseverance. Let us remember that ‘if we suffer tamely a lawless attack upon our liberty, we encourage it, and involve others in our doom.’ It is a very serious consideration that millions yet unborn may be the miserable sharers of the event.”
– Samuel Adams
Thesis: Few people realize the effect Samuel Adams has had on our country, they know of him only that he was a politician at the time of the revolution, but he is indeed the father of American independence.
“Among those who signed the Declaration of Independence, and were conspicuous in the revolution, there existed, of course, a great diversity of intellectual endowments; nor did all render to their country, in those perilous days, the same important services. Like the luminaries of heavens each contributed his portion of influence; but, like them, they differed, as star differeth from star in glory. But in the constellation of great men, which adorned that era, few shone with more brilliancy, or exercised a more powerful influence than Samuel Adams.” (Fradin 98)
People like to hear the story of Samuel Adams for two reasons. First it is a story of the greatest hero in American history full of much triumph and fighting for the common good. Also they like to hear of how he was a failure in every sense before he found exactly what his lifes calling was. Perhaps it gives people some hope for their own lives because he failed at every job he ever had and still became the greatest man in the history of this fine country.
Adams came from a fairly wealthy family that resided in Boston. The son of a merchant and maltster, Adams was a 1740 graduate of Harvard College. When at Harvard he publicly defended the thesis that it is “lawful to resist the Supreme Magistrate, if the Common wealth cannot be otherwise preserved” (Morris 91) which meant that it was okay to protest against England if nothing else could help the situation. Adherence to this principle was ever afterward a central theme in his career.
After failing repeated times at every job he ever had some of which were a brewer and newspaper publisher, Adams found that his chief preoccupation, politics, was his true calling. Following lengthy experience in Boston town affairs, he rose to prominence in the Massachusetts assembly during the opposition to the Stamp Act in 1765. He was an organizer and the founder of Bostons Sons of Liberty, the group that fought for American independence. He played a key role from 1765 until the end of the War of Independence in Patriot opposition to what Adams believed was a “British plat to destroy constitutional liberty.” (Miller 95)
Adams contributions to the independence movement were many and varied. During the 1760s and 1770s he frequently wrote polemical articles for the Boston newspapers, and he recruited talented younger men Josiah Quincy, Joseph Warren, and his second cousin John Adams, among other into the Patriot cause. It seems as though people know more about his students than they do about their mentor.It was Samuel Adams who conceived the Boston Committee of Correspondence, the group that negotiated with England, and took a leading role in its formation and operations from 1772 through 1774. He was among those who planned and coordinated Bostons resistance to the Tea Act, which climaxed in the famous Tea Party. He was one of the first people on the ship to throw the tea overboard. He later worked for the creation of the Continental Congress, helping propel it into supporting Massachusetts in the crisis. This congress was the first form of independent Government that America had seen.
From 1774 through 1781 Adams represented Massachusetts in the Continental Congress, where his “industry, stamina, realism, and commitment made him one of the handful of workhorses who served year in and year out on numerous committees.”(Carlson 91) Although Adamss influence in state and national affairs waned during the 1780s, he was elected to the Massachusetts convention on the ratification of the Constitution, which he was ultimately persuaded to support even though it contradicted some Whig principles. But, as in the past, he remained wary of centralized governmental power and never became part of the Federalists, the dominant party in Massachusetts. Instead he chose to stick by the beliefs that he had had from the beginning, refusing to compromise those for anyone.
After serving as John Hancocks lieutenant governor from 1789 to 1793, Adams succeeded to the governorship at Hancocks death. As governor he did a wonderful job keeping some sort of piece in the state although there was great tension between the two parities. Although he opposed Jays Treaty with England in 1795, he was thrice reelected before infirmity led him to retire in 1797. “Three years later, when Thomas Jefferson was elected to the presidency over his cousin John, Samuel congratulated the Virginian on the triumph of democratic republicanism.” (Americana 90)
Samuel Adams was a revolutionary of great self-discipline and patience. “We cannot make events, he believed. Our business is wisely to improve them. After his death, one colleague compared him to John Calvin, cool, abstemious, polished, refined, although Adams was more inflexible, uniform, consistent than the Genevan reformer. Avoiding all social pretension and cultivation ascetic manner, Adams embodied an austere Puritan republicanism that was seen as exemplary in 1775, but became archaic by the 1790s. Uniformly respected, though not always liked, Samuel Adams was, in John Adamss words, born and tempered a wedge of steel to split the knot of lignum vitae that bound America to Britain.”(Miller 95)
The transition from England took a great leader and idealist in order to make it happen. Samuel Adams was that man. From founding the Sons of Liberty to founding the first Continental Congress, Samuel Adams was there for the whole ordeal and played a major role until his death in 1803. Samuel Adams truly is the father of American independence.
Work Cited Page
“Adams, Samuel.” Encyclopedia Americana, Inc. 1990 ed.
Carlson, Bill. “Samuel Adams.” The Rhodes Family Genealogy Family Stories. Infotrac,
Fradin, Dennis. Samuel Adams. New York City: Clarion Books, 1998.
Miller, Ann. “Samuel Adams.” Lucidcafe Library, Inc.
Morris, John. “Adams, Samuel.” The Readers Companion to American History. Electric