Sam Adams

Sam Adams Every so often, a man of true passion is born. A man exceedingly dedicated to his principles, and very firm in his beliefs. Samuel Adams was such a man. Adams was a patriot, and one of the more influential men in the colonies. However, even as a patriot, he did not support the Constitution. How could such a patriot be an anti-federalist? Once again, it all comes down to an issue of beliefs.

Samuel Adams was born on September 27, 1722. He was the son of a successful merchant and malter. As a boy, he attended Boston Grammar School. In 1736 he decided to enter Harvard. It was here that he became active in colonial politics.

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He joined such clubs as the Caucus Club, which was influential in nominating candidates for local office. Here he became interested in revolution. The subject for his Master of Arts thesis was “Whether it be lawful to resist the Supreme Magistrate, if the Commonwealth cannot otherwise be preserved.”(Brown 10). In 1740 he graduated and set off to help put an end to England’s rule over the colonies. Every so often, a man of true passion is born.

A man exceedingly dedicated to his principles, and very firm in his beliefs. Samuel Adams was such a man. Adams was a patriot, and one of the more influential men in the colonies. However, even as a patriot, he did not support the Constitution. How could such a patriot be an anti-federalist? Once again, it all comes down to an issue of beliefs.

Samuel Adams was born on September 27, 1722. He was the son of a successful merchant and malter. As a boy, he attended Boston Grammar School. In 1736 he decided to enter Harvard. It was here that he became active in colonial politics.

He joined such clubs as the Caucus Club, which was influential in nominating candidates for local office. Here he became interested in revolution. The subject for his Master of Arts thesis was “Whether it be lawful to resist the Supreme Magistrate, if the Commonwealth cannot otherwise be preserved.”(Brown 10). In 1740 he graduated and set off to help put an end to England’s rule over the colonies. Adams got married early in life.

His first wife, however, died before they had spent much time together. She left him with two children. Later, he married for a second time. He spent much time during this marriage at attic meetings of the Caucus. It was here that he learned the fine points of being a politician.

Samuel first got a chance to use these skills when he was elected tax collector of Boston in 1756. He remained tax collector for eight years. With the help of his outspoken opposition to both the Molasses Act and to the Sugar Act, Adams made an impression on the people of the colonies. This brought him into the center of Boston’s political circle. It was then that Adams truly became involved.

In 1765, he organized a formal protest against the Stamp Act. From there, Adam’s became a founding member of the Boston chapter of The Sons of Liberty. This was an influential group that was very opposed to British rule. Adams also led the fight against the Townshend Acts. This demonstration led to the Boston Massacre. He also planned and coordinated the resistance to the Tea Act, which led to the Boston Tea Party.

From 1774 to 1781, Adams represented Massachusetts on the Continental Congress. He was considered one of the workhorses of the Congress. He worked on several committees, propelled by stamina, realism, and commitment (Brown 10). Samuel was part of a radical faction that demanded strong measures to be taken against Great Britain. They wanted to make Britain regret imposing numerous irrelevant taxes on the colonies.

With the help of John Adams, he convinced the Congress to impose a nonimportation agreement against England. Later, he helped to draft the Massachusetts state constitution. Samuel Adams never attended the Constitutional Convention. As an anti-federalist, he was strongly opposed to the Constitution. Both he and Patrick Henry boycotted the convention due to the fear of a strong central government.

While the Convention was underway in Philadelphia, he was back at home speaking before the public on the faults of what was being written. A loss of personal rights was Adams main fear. Adams favored the Articles of Confederation, which left most of the power in the hand’s of the individual states. With the central government having the true power, and that power being vested in one man, Adams feared his new country would be no different from his former. If his fears were correct, a strong sovereign would have complete power.

If so, individual freedom would be null. Everything that the patriots had fought for would have been for no nought. Another fault Adams found with the Constitution had to do with the fact that Americans had their differences. Each state had it’s own ideas of how to run things in order to please its citizens. Although a common culture was shared, different regions had different needs. Adams, along with many other anti-federalists, turned towards Montesquieu, who said that the smaller the republic, the more in touch the government is to the people (Patterson 40).

A large central government would not please as many people as several smaller ones. Despite the anti-federalist protests, the states held conventions to ratify The Constitution. Intense conflict took place during the Massachusetts Convention. A large majority of the 355 delegates were opposed to ratification. These delegates were led by Samuel Adams.

Adams gave in to the federalists, however, due to an idea that was to his liking. It was suggested that after the ratification, Massachusetts propose a Bill of Rights to be included. After that suggestion was voiced, the federalists managed to win by nineteen votes. Massachusetts ratified on February 6, 1788. After the Convention, Adams worked as lieutenant governor to his close friend, John Hancock. Samuel succeeded Hancock after his death.

He was reelected three times before illness forced him into retirement in 1797. He died six years later in 1803. Was Adams a patriot even though he didn’t support the Constitution? Not supporting it could possibly have made him an even greater patriot. His desires to keep human rights lead to the Bill of Rights. Imagine America without the Bill of Rights. Samuel Adams, anti-federalist, was a distinguished patriot and important in the shaping of America.

Works Cited “Adams, Samuel.” Compton’s Online Encyclopedia, downloaded from America Online, October 1, 1996 “Fight for Ratification.” Compton’s Online Encyclopedia, downloaded from America Online, October 1, 1996 “Adams, Samuel.” Microsoft Encarta Interactive Encyclopedia, CD-Rom. Seatle, Microsoft 1994 Ammon, Harry. “Adams, Samuel.” Groliers Electronic Encyclopedia Groliers Electronic Publishing, 1993 Brown, Richard. “Samuel Adams.” The Readers Guide to American History Edition ’91 pg 10 Patterson, Thomas E. The American Democracy 1994 New York: McGraw-Hill, Inc., 1994.

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