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The Great Rabble-rouser


By: Untitled Document Brandon Gary Lovested



Samuel Adams

The greatest 'incendiary' in the empire

Samuel Adams was the son of a brewer, and as such, became one himself. Later, he attended Harvard, then became active in colonial politics - enjoying a popular following through his activities in the Boston political clubs, such as the Caucus Club, which was influential in nominating candidates for local office. He was an effective spokesman for the popular party opposed to the entrenched circle around the royal governor. In short, he was born a rabble-rouser.

Adams organized the protest against the Stamp Act in 1765, and was a founder of the
Sons of Liberty - a secret organization dedicated to creating a methodical resistance to perceived abuse of the Crown in the colonies. Probably the most influential member of the lower house of the Massachusetts legislature from 1765 to 1774, he drafted most of the major protest documents, including the Circular Letter of 1768 against the Townshend Acts.

Adams formed close ties with John Hancock, who had extensive connections with Boston merchants. After 1770, Adams was the leader in the creation of "intercolonial committees of correspondence to sustain the spirit of resistance." In that spirit, he was a principal organizer of the Boston Tea Party (1773).

Adams was regarded as a radical, chiefly because of his bold essays for the press. Lieutenant Governor
of Massachusetts Thomas Hutchinson called him "the greatest incendiary in the empire." As an early advocate of independence, Adams worked closely with John Adams, his second cousin, at the First Continental Congress.

Adams addressed the State House in Philadelphia on August 1, 1776, shortly after the Declaration of Independence, where he gave a typically impassioned speech on why independence must and should be fought for.

Samuel Adams remained in Congress until 1781, participating in the drafting of the Articles of Confederation. He continued to be active in state politics, serving as lieutenant governor of Massachusetts (1789-93) and as governor (1794-97). He became less fiery in later years, condemning the
actions of farmers during Shay's Rebellion, and endorsing ratification of a federal Constitution.


Untitled Document

Brandon Gary Lovested is a contributing writer to iBoston, as well as its Webmaster.

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