"It does not take a majority to prevail but rather an irate, tireless minority, keen on setting brushfires of freedom in the minds of men."
― Samuel Adams
Born on September 27, 1722, Samuel Adams
was a political leader in the American Revolution. A graduate from Harvard College, Samuel Adams
failed in business before becoming a politician. Although, he was a popular leader in America, many controversies surrounded him. He was a second cousin of President John Adams
. He was one of the staunch supporters of 'Republicanism'
that shaped the political culture in America. The system of 'Committee of Correspondence', formed by him and his associates played an important role in uniting like-minded Americans from all the 13 colonies. He also played an integral part in organizing the 'Boston Tea Party'
. So let us try to understand further about the connection between him and The American Revolution.
Beginning of the American Revolution
There were various causes that led to the American Revolution. However, the 'Coercive Acts', which included the 'Boston Port Act', the 'Massachusetts Government Act', and the 'Administration of Justice Act' spread unrest among Americans and angered them the most. To oppose these acts, Samuel Adams, with the co-operation of 'Boston Town Meeting', decided to boycott British goods in Boston. The Massachusetts House decided to send him to Philadelphia, where the 'First Continental Congress' was to be held.
First Continental Congress
The convention continued from September 5 to October 26, 1774. During the convention held in Philadelphia, Samuel Adams did the important task of promoting unity among all the 13 colonies of America. At the convention, it was also decided to cut down the exports to Britain until the 'Coercive Acts', also known as the 'Intolerable Acts', were repealed.
He returned to Massachusetts in November and joined the 'Massachusetts Provincial Congress'. A vital and important task of forming the 'Minutemen', the first armed force to fight in the 'American Revolutionary War', was done by the 'Massachusetts Provincial Congress'.
On April 18, 1775, General Gage had issued arrest orders in the name of Samuel Adams and John Hancock. General Gage had received a letter from Lord Dartmouth, earlier, regarding the arrest of 'principal actors' and 'abettors' in the Provincial Congress. He had sent a detachment of soldiers that sparked the American Revolutionary War. Both leaders escaped the arrest, thanks to the courageous efforts of Paul Revere, who was sent by Joseph Warren, who informed them about the British troops marching towards Lexington in an attempt to arrest them. After the escape, General Gage declared that the American revolutionaries won't be punished if they lay down their arms. However, he excluded the names of John Hancock and Samuel Adams from the declaration and decided to arrest them. The move by General Gage only highlighted the importance of these leaders.
Second Continental Congress
Adams had greatly influenced the 'Second Continental Congress'. He not only headed several committees in the Congress, but also dealt with matters regarding the armed forces. He advocated independence for the colonies from the British regime.
On July 4, 1776, the Congress approved the 'United States Declaration of Independence', which was signed by him and marked the beginning of a new era in the history of America. After the declaration, he focused his attention on the 'American Revolutionary War' and served on many military committees. The Americans who supported the British regime were called the 'Loyalists'. He viewed them as a threat to America and opposed their return to Massachusetts after the end of the war. At that time in Massachusetts, about 300 Loyalists were expelled and their properties were confiscated.
After the war, a committee was appointed to draft the 'Articles of Confederation', a constitution for the United States of America. Adams was one of the delegates of the committee and represented Massachusetts as 'his country'. The 'Articles of Confederation' were not signed by many states until 1781. He returned to Boston in 1779 to attend a state constitutional convention. He was appointed to a drafting committee that also included his cousin John Adams and James Bowdoin. Together, they drafted the Massachusetts Constitution, which the voters approved of in 1780. This new constitution initiated a Republican form of government. He decided to retire from the Continental Congress in 1781 and returned to Massachusetts. He then went on to become the state senator of Massachusetts. In 1794, he was appointed as the lieutenant governor and then the governor of the state. He was re-elected as the governor till 1797, after which he retired from politics. He died on October 2, 1803, in Boston.
Samuel Adams lived a simple and modest life. He faced a lot of setbacks in his life. He lost his only son, Samuel Adams Jr., when he was just 37 years old. No matter how controversial his political career had been, he will always be remembered in American history for his important contributions to the American Revolution.