Biography and Political Accomplishments of Samuel Adams
The United States of America vividly remembers Samuel Adams as a key member of the Founding Fathers who penned down their signatures to usher in an independent America. Rising from humble beginnings, Adams played frontline roles in sparking the Revolutionary Wars against the colonial powers of Britain.
The following takes a closer look at the life and political accomplishments of Samuel Adams.
Born on 27th September 1722, Samuel was the son of Samuel Adams Sr. and Mary Adams. Born in Boston, he and his parents had to painfully live under the colonial dominion of the British. His father, Adams Sr., was a religious man who identified himself with the Congregational Church – he was their Deacon. The politically influential father also owned a couple of brewing businesses in addition to Land Bank.
Adams Sr.’s businesses enriched him to live a comfortable life. Religiousness ran through the blood of the family; Samuel’s mother wasn’t an exception. Mary Adams’ religious affiliation was that of a Puritan. The couple instilled a high sense of morality and responsibility into young Samuel. Growing up, Samuel didn’t depart from doing what was right.
Samuel had his formative education at Boston Latin School. Upon his successful graduation from the school in 1736, Samuel got the requisite grades and proceeded to Harvard College. His initial goal was to pursue a religious career. As things progressed, Samuel could hear his call to serve in political capacities.
In 1740, he graduated from Harvard but chose to pursue a master’s degree over there. The brilliant Samuel won a debate competition centering on liberty. Within that year, British authorities decided to shut down his father’s bank for no good reasons.
This affected the family’s income; a fruitless legal dispute further impoverished the family after Adams Sr.’s death. After acquiring his master’s degree in 1743, Samuel studied law for a while, before ditching it for politics.
Jobs & Business Ventures
Adams took a number of unsuccessful business ventures before going full time into politics. He lost a counting job because of his clear political views.
Also, he failed to economically utilize a small loan he took from his dad to start a business. In 1756, when he was empowered to collect taxes, Samuel did a very terrible job. He failed to responsibly carry out his duties, leaving many taxpayers to go Scot-free. But in the end, he became popular in his community. He landed a political slot in the provincial assembly – his journey to mainstream politics had started.
Samuel Adams’ presence in the political arena created a huge impact on the struggle for American independence. Here are some of his notable achievements in politics.
Founded a Newspaper
By 1743, Samuel had begun work at the Boston market as a clerk. This was the first major political vacancy he occupied. In 1748, Adams and other revolutionaries took a bold step in founding “The Independent Advertiser”. The weekly-published paper came with political articles calling on Americans to wake up from their slumber and press for independence. Despite the unpopularity of the paper, the British shut it down in 1775.
Co-founded Sons of Liberty
The longer Adams stayed in politics, the more he witnessed the unfair British taxes and general maltreatment of his people under the wicked hands of colonialism. The experience of family business shutdowns and his own bitter political experiences pushed Samuel Adams to look for faster means of seeking self-governance.
Finally, in 1765, Samuel partnered with John Hancock (another stubborn Revolutionary) and founded Sons of Liberty. The vibrant and radical group set out to use resistance against Britain’s oppressive acts against its colonies.
In 1773, the Sons of Liberty purportedly disguised themselves and partook in the Boston Tea Party demonstration. Even though Samuel Adams wasn’t physically present at the destructive scene, his irate group members showed no mercy to the tea in the docked ship.
Samuel and the Sons of Liberty took it seriously when British troops fired and killed 5 Boston civilians. The popular shooting incident – termed the Boston Massacre – deeply troubled Adams and Hancock; they did all they could to ensure that British soldiers were removed from the town. Moreover, they sought justice for the slain civilians.
Resisted Tax Policies
While others stayed mute, Adams couldn’t turn a blind eye to the sufferings of his people. The British, in an attempt to recover from the economic ramifications of the Seven Years War, introduced some unfair taxes on its colonies.
Examples of these include the Stamp Act, the Townshend duties of 1767, & then the Sugar Act of 1764. Following the passage of these acts, Adams called on Americans to boycott British goods. He argued that the British had no right to tax people without representatives in their parliament.
Determined to cause revolutionary events, Samuel Adams once expressed his strong opinion in a famous quote – according to him, the majority doesn’t guarantee success; It takes a tireless angry minority of freedom-driven hearts, to cause a change.
Signed the Declaration of Independence
Perhaps, Adams’ greatest accomplishment during his entire political career boils down to the Declaration of Independence. In 1774, Adams was part of the representatives from Massachusetts who attended the Philadelphia First Continental Congress. In the meeting, Adams raised the issue of Independence.
Due to their influence in causing revolutions, Adams and Hancock had to run away from Boston for their lives, upon a tip-off of impending danger. In July 1776, despite being on the British wanted list, he constituted the Continental Congress that signed the Declaration of Independence. Samuel Adams, John Hancock and John Adams (Samuel’s cousin) all partook in the signing of the secret document.
Samuel Adams’ Death
During his later years, Adams went back to Boston and played assisting roles in the passage of the Massachusetts Constitution. He later got appointments as lieutenant governor (1789) and governor (1793). By 1797, old age and ill-health had caught up with the astute politician. He retired from active service; at 81 years-old, Adams peacefully passed away on 2nd October 1803.