As one can imagine based on modern adoration, Samuel Adams was born in Boston, Massachusetts on September 27, 1722. Unlike many of his American Revolution companions, Adams was raised on a strong education. He studied Greek and Latin at a young age, and was admitted to Harvard College at the young age of fourteen. His father was a brewer and local politician, so the younger Adams had a vast array of knowledge on the local political atmosphere in Boston. After college and a failed business venture, Adams went to work for his father at the brewery. Samuel Adams was seemingly inefficient in many lines of work at a young age, including his role as a tax collector. It wasn’t until he met his second wife, Elizabeth Wells, that put some order in his life and promoted the move to the political sector.
Possibly the most important move in Adams career was him joining the Caucus Club, a local political organization, where he and his comrades controlled local elections and urged citizens to oppose legislation they felt were unjust, such as the Sugar Act of 1764. This was the beginning of the revolution for Adams. He felt like it was unfair for Americans to be taxed on items such as molasses without gaining in return. After coining the phrase “no taxation without representation”, Adams became fully on board with the rebellious nature of the Revolution. Samuel Adams became a highly acclaimed writer in the late 1760’s. Essays were written opposing such items as the Stamp Act of 1765 and the Townshend Acts of 1767. A reputation had been created for Adams as an instigator and a bandleader for the revolt. British generals and even King George had grown to hate the writings of Adams, and the writer’s words had become a rallying point for Americans who wanted to see change.
As a politician, Adams represented Massachusetts in the Continental Congress from 1774 to 1781. After the first session however, his power began to wane. He had no real sense of direction for America after the Revolution, and he had lessened connections to political power as time went on. This did not completely derail his political efforts however. From 1789 until 1793, he was the lieutenant governor of Massachusetts. Adams took over the permanent role after that and was re-elected for three terms. He decided not to run again in 1797, and would die in his hometown of Boston in the fall of 1803.
Although many consider his inflexibility a detriment to what he could have achieved, others think that he is the epitome of Puritan republicanism which was incredibly useful in the 1770’s. His desire to stick to his beliefs and morality even when it became outdated should be admired. All in all, the former governor was almost unanimously respected and as John Adams put it: he was “born and tempered a wedge of steel to split the knot of lignum vitae" that bound America to Britain. Samuel Adams purpose in life was to lead the revolution, and that, he most certainly did.