Samuel Adams, 1722 - 1803

portrait of Samuel Adams
Portrait by John Singleton Copley (1772)
Samuel Adams signature

Born: 27 September 1722, Boston, Massachusetts Colony, British Empire
Died: 2 October 1803, Cambridge, Massachusetts

Adams was a member of a religious and politically-active family, his father was deacon at Old South Congregational Church (Puritan) and John Adams, the future president, was his second cousin. He attended Boston Latin School and graduated from Harvard College in 1740, adding a Masters degree in 1743. He went to work for a merchant but was more interested in politics, failed in his own business, and then joined the family malthouse. Contrary to legend, he probably never brewed beer, rather malting grain for local breweries. Offended by various British actions, Adams was vocal about the rights of British subjects and organized the system of "committees of correspondence" to organize opposition across Massachusetts colony. He was involved in the protests that led to the Boston Tea Party, but it is unclear that he had any direct role in organizing the vandalism himself. He didn't clearly argue for independence until the Second Continental Congress in 1775. He represented Massachusetts in the Continental Congress from 17741781, was president of the Massachusetts senate for four years, served as lieutenant governor under John Hancock for four years, and was governor himself for the next four, 1793-1797.

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