Wednesday, July 04, 2007

Sam Adams

In honor of our country's birthday today I thought I'd talk about one of the founding fathers that sometimes gets lost in the shuffle of otherwise important names. If you hear his name today, you probably think of the beer. Which is a shame, Samuel Adams was an important voice in the creation of this country.

When I was in grade school I came across a series of books in the school library. They were biographies of different figures from the American Revolution. They weren't written like a biography, they were done more in a novelistic approach. The books also sidestepped the main figures of the Revolution like George Washington and Thomas Jefferson, they were about people like Samuel Adams, Patrick Henry and Paul Revere. I remember going through all these books in the library and enjoying them. I wish I could remember who the author was or anything else about the books. I'm pretty sure they were written awhile ago and are no longer in print. One of the books was about Samuel Adams and since then I have always had a fascination with this man.

Samuel Adams was born in Boston on Sept 17, 1722. His father was a successful brewer, thus the linkage to our reason for knowing the name today. While his father might have been a success in business his son Samuel was not. No matter what he tried his hand at Samuel usually ended up failing and in financial difficulties.

Adams moved into politics. He organized the protest against the Stamp Act and was a founder of the Sons of Liberty. He helped organize the Boston Tea Party. In an era full of radicals Adams was considered even too radical by a lot of the slowly growing opposition to the Crown.

He served in the First Continental Congress with his cousin John Adams. He helped draft the Articles of Confederation. After Independence was won he went back to Massachusetts and served as first Lieutenant Governor and than Governor. With a decade of serving as Governor Adams was dead.

Samuel Adams' importance was before the Revolution, his voice was one of the strongest for breaking the ties with England. He was one of the most vocal protesters, always organizing ways to upset the Mother Country. After the war started Adams brand of outrage was considered too radical and we see less of his hand in things, which probably explains partly why he is not as well known today. But without his voice and hand at the start, the Revolution might have went a different way.


Travis said...

I don't know a lot about Samual Adams, which is a shame. But as you say, hardcore radical voices are more effective to stir people up. Once stirred and once goals are achieved, these kinds of aggressive personalities often get shoved into the back ground.

JohnH985 said...

The problem is that it's almost impossible to find much about Samuel Adams. I have been looking for a decent biography of him forever and still haven't found one.

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