Samuel Adams Heritage Society

Short Biography

Unlike many famous revolution figures who were quite wealthy and had vested interest in American independence through their business and political careers, Samuel Adams was practically broke during his best political years. Not having as much to gain personally made Adams even more genuine in his beliefs that America must be independent from Britain.

Even among progressive thinking political elite Sam Adams was considered a radical. But it was exactly what was needed to in order to electrify the sleepy colonial crowd. The intensity of his religious believes intertwined with politics made SA one of the most influential politicians in Boston.

SA was born in Boston on September 27, 1722. He grew up with all the privileges that a wealthy family has to offer. Early on he was exposed to politics and politicians since his father Samuel Adams Sr. was a politician himself. He received a top notch education, attending Boston Latin School and then Harvard graduating with a Masters degree in Arts.

His thesis "Whether it be lawful to resist the supreme magistrate, if the commonwealth cannot be otherwise preserved?" proved that SA had ideas of independence very early in his career.

After graduating SA decided to practice law but the influence of his parents was stronger. He tried several careers, the first one in a counting house that belonged to a family friend Thomas Cushing; it proved to be less than satisfying for him and that he had no business abilities. He tried to be an entrepreneur, but lost all the money that his father lent him, never to be recovered. Next, he went to work in his father brewery, but was not interested in the business; instead he started a newspaper with some friends who shared the same political ideas.

After the death of his father, SA was introduced to his first political post as a clerk of the Boston Market and then as a tax collector. During pre-revolutionary incidents such as the Sugar Act, the Stamp Act, Townshend Acts, Boston Massacre and Boston Tea Party, SA proved to be a leader and capitalized on his oratory and writing skills managing to organize and move the masses toward his ideal of independence. SA was so influential that the British labeled him as the most dangerous man in Massachusetts and issued a warrant for his arrest.

During the war SA served in the First Continental Congress coordinating the formation of the militia. After the war during the Second Continental Congress he was one of the signers of the Declaration of Independence and of the Articles of Confederation. In 1781 he returned to Massachusetts and was elected to the State Senate. He was appointed Lieutenant Governor of Massachusetts in 1789 and elected Governor of Massachusetts in 1794.

Samuel Adams died on October 2, 1803 at age 81. He is buried in the Old Granary Burying Ground in Boston Massachusetts.

Read full biography - Early Life and Education >>


Early Life and Education


Early Career

Townshend Acts

Sugar Act

Boston Massacre

Political Activism

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Samuel Adams - Facts and Numbers

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