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Samuel Adams


Samuel Adams (1722-1803), American Patriot, most famous as organizer of the Boston Tea Party. Samuel attended Boston Latin School and Harvard College. After finishing his education, Adams went into business with his father Samuel Adams Sr., opening a brewery in Boston. They were driven to the brink of bankruptcy by legislation introduced by the British, which fueled the younger Adams' dislike for the colonial government. His father died in 1748, leaving him sole proprietor of the brewery business..

He soon began to get into politics, becoming a tax collector for the British, and participating in town meetings, where he was often vociferous and outspoken. He would soon become leader of the Patriot group called the Sons of Liberty. In 1764, the brewery, which had never been very successful, was forced to shut down, and Adams dedicated himself wholly to politics. That year, he was elected to the Massachusetts legislature, where he actively voiced opposition to British control over the American colonies, particularly the Stamp Act and, later, the Townshend Acts. It was he who coined the name "Boston Massacre" to denote the 1770 killing of 5 American colonists by British soldiers. In 1773, Samuel Adams was one of the organizers and leading participants in the Boston Tea Party.

In 1774, he retired from the Massachusetts legislature in order to become one of the state's representatives at the Continental Congress, in which capacity he signed the Declaration of Independence in 1776. Opposed to strong central government, he supported the loose government advocated by the Articles of Confederation. In 1781, he was elected to the state senate of Massachusetts, where he would serve until 1788, becoming its president.

Adams was against the stronger national government proposed in the Constitution, and was one of the proponents of including a Bill of Rights.

In 1789, he ran unsuccessfully for Congress, but was elected Lieutenant Governor of Massachussets instead, serving until 1793, when he became Governor. He died in 1803, at the age of 81.

John Adams, who became the second President of the United States was Samuel's second cousin, although his elder brother was also named John.

See: John Singleton Copley. Samuel Adams.

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