Samuel Adams Quotes

Samuel Adams, 1722 – 1803

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.

Samuel Adams quotes:

All men have a right to remain in a state of nature as long as they please; and in case of intolerable oppression, civil or religious, to leave the society they belong to, and enter into another.
    Samuel Adams – The Rights of the Colonists (20 November 1772)

All might be free if they valued freedom, and defended it as they should.
    Samuel Adams – Essay written “Candidus” in The Boston Gazette (14 October 1771)

Among the natural rights of the colonists are these: First a right to life, secondly to liberty, thirdly to property; together with the right to defend them in the best manner they can.
    Samuel Adams – The Rights of the Colonists (1772)

Courage, then, my countrymen, our contest is not only whether we ourselves shall be free, but whether there shall be left to mankind an asylum on earth for civil and religious liberty.
    Samuel Adams – Speech to State House of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia (1 August 1776)

Did the protection we received annul our rights as men, and lay us under an obligation of being miserable? Who among you, my countrymen, that is a father, would claim authority to make your child a slave because you had nourished him in infancy?
    Samuel Adams – Speech to State House of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia (1 August 1776)

Driven from every other corner of the earth, freedom of thought and the right of private judgment in matters of conscience direct their course to this happy country as their last resort.
    Samuel Adams

Freedom of thought and the right of private judgment, in matters of conscience, driven from every other corner of the earth, direct their course to this happy country as their last asylum.
    Samuel Adams – Speech to State House of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia (1 August 1776)

He therefore is the truest friend to the liberty of his country who tries most to promote its virtue, and who, so far as his power and influence extend, will not suffer a man to be chosen into any office of power and trust who is not a wise and virtuous man.
    Samuel Adams – “Loyalty and Sedition” in The Advertiser (1748)

He who is void of virtuous attachments in private life is, or very soon will be, void of all regard for his country. There is seldom an instance of a man guilty of betraying his country, who had not before lost the feeling of moral obligations in his private connections.
    Samuel Adams

He who made all men hath made the truths necessary to human happiness obvious to all.
    Samuel Adams – Speech to State House of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia (1 August 1776)

How strangely will the Tools of a Tyrant pervert the plain Meaning of Words!
    Samuel Adams – Letter to John Pitts (21 January 1776)

I firmly believe that the benevolent Creator designed the republican Form of Government for Man.
    Samuel Adams – (14 April 1785)

If ever the Time should come, when vain & aspiring Men shall possess the highest Seats in Government, our Country will stand in Need of its experienced Patriots to prevent its Ruin.
    Samuel Adams – Letter to James Warren (24 October 1780)

If men, through fear, fraud, or mistake, should in terms renounce or give up any essential natural right, the eternal law of reason and the grand end of society would absolutely vacate such renunciation. The right to freedom being the gift of God Almighty, it is not in the power of man to alienate this gift and voluntarily become a slave.
    Samuel Adams – The Rights of the Colonists (20 November 1772)

If the public are bound to yield obedience to laws to which they cannot give their approbation, they are slaves to those who make such laws and enforce them.
    Samuel Adams – Essay written as “Candidus” in The Boston Gazette (20 January 1772)

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