Facts about Samuel Adams

Samuel Adams died at 81 years old
Died: October 2, 1803
Best known as: Rabble-rousing Founding Father from Boston, with a beer named after him


Samuel Adams Biography

Samuel Adams was one of the Founding Fathers of the American Revolution.

He was a Boston politician and agitator for independence who’s gone down in history as an important figure, but lacking the intellectual heft of contemporaries such as Thomas Jefferson, George Washington and John Adams, his second cousin.

Born and raised in a prosperous family of Boston (his father had a successful brewery), Adams graduated from Harvard College in 1740.

With help from friends, Adams recovered from years as a bad businessman when he was made tax collector for Boston, a position he seems to have mostly bungled between 1756 and 1764, just before being elected to the Massachusetts House of Representatives.

A cousin and associate of John Adams and a close, dependent friend of John Hancock, Samuel Adams is known as one of the more rabble rousing of the Founding Fathers. His fellow “Sons of Liberty” were either good-hearted patriots for independence or a mob of unruly drunkards, depending on the story.

Adams himself was apparently a non-drinker, but he frequented various pubs to preach revolution and to distribute anti-British literature.

An especially strong player from Boston, Adams was an adept polemicist/propagandist who attended the Continental Congress in Philadelphia, signed the Declaration of Independence and helped draft the Articles of Confederation and the Massachusetts Constitution.

Samuel Adams became Lieutenant Governor of Massachusetts when his friend Hancock became the governor; Hancock died in 1793 and Adams succeeded him as the state’s second governor in 1794. He was re-elected in 1795 and 1796, then retired.

Extra credit

The Boston Beer Company, founded in 1984, brews beers named in honor of Samuel Adams, including Samuel Adams Boston Lager and Samuel Adams Rebel IPA.


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