Who Was Sam Adams?

Updated on January 30, 2018
harrynielsen profile image

New World history is a rich field that is constantly being analyzed for new material. The complexity of these tales never fails to amaze me.

Samuel Adams Beer

Even though Sam Adams went bankrupt as a beermaker, the Revolutionary hero is today portrayed on a variety of popular brews
Even though Sam Adams went bankrupt as a beermaker, the Revolutionary hero is today portrayed on a variety of popular brews

Samuel Adams

John Adams, second president of the United States, once stated that Samuel Adams "tempered a wedge of steel to split the knot of lignum vitae” that bound America to Britain.

Today, thanks to the 20th century activities of a Massachusetts beer brewer, the name of Sam Adams is now a household word. However, during his lifetime, the Boston merchant and beermaker was often eclipsed by the two other Adams's, John and Quincy, a father and son team, who would go on to become the second and sixth presidents of the United States. Interesting enough, Sam Adams was second cousin to John Adams.

Samuel Adams

Portrait of Samuel Adams, a Colonial beermaker, who became Governor of Massachusetts
Portrait of Samuel Adams, a Colonial beermaker, who became Governor of Massachusetts

A Family Business Honors a Revolutionary Hero

Samuel Adams's father, the Deacon Samuel Adams was a multi-talented man. Besides being a man of the cloth, he was a justice of the peace, a selectman, and a member of the colonial legislature. He also ran a malting house, an important place in Colonial America, where barley was converted to a malted sugar that could be used to make beer. Before the revolution, Samuel Adams inherited the malting business from his father, ran it into the ground, yet still, became the symbol of the craft beer movement that flourished in Boston in the latter part of the 20th century.

Samuel Adamsa beer Products Today

Today, Samuel Adams gets his name on many different types of beer
Today, Samuel Adams gets his name on many different types of beer

A Sixth Generation Beermaker Undertakes a Risky Venture

"This crazy idea of starting a small-scale brewery was not his idea of success." Jim Koch talking about his father's opinion of starting the Boston Brewing Co.

Jim Koch, (pronounced cook, not coke) the founder of the Samuel Adams Brewery, became the sixth person in a long line of beer brewers to make the popular hops and barley drink. His father, Charles Koch, thought Jim was nuts to undertake a small beer business venture, but against all odds, Jim Koch succeeded and started a new American Revolution, one of the successful small-time operator.

The Koch beermaking tradition goes back to St. Louis in the 1860s, when Jim's great-great grandfather began making Louis Koch Lager. Incidently, in 1984, the same family recipe was employed to make the Samuel Adams Lager that is still enjoyed today. This so-called craft business has also made Jim Koch a billionaire.

A Lousy Tax Collector

Before Samuel Adams entered politics, he was a tax collector in Boston. While employed in this manner, Sam did not particularly enjoy taking other people's money. So in many cases, he actually did not collect the tax that he was supposed to. This created many problems for the political body that had hired Sam. Called the Boston Town Meeting, they eventually billed Samuel, who paid what he could from his own pocket.

Following his unsuccessful stint as a tax collector, Sam was elected to the Massachusetts Assembly, despite the financial problems he created as a tax collector. It was in this political position that Sam Adams came into his own as a fiery, political voice, opposing British rule in the American colonies.

Modern Day Historians Sound Off on the Sons of Liberty

Opposing the Stamp Act

The Stamp Act was imposed by Great Britain over the Colonies in 1765. It's intent was to raise revenue to pay for Britain's Seven Year War, but in reality, all the act did was to enrage the Colonists. As a Boston Assemblyman, Samuel Adams became one of the most outspoken critics of the tax. Even though the Stamp Act was repealed the next year, Britain was not finished with trying to collect taxes in America.

A Lost Treasure of the Founding Fathers

The Sons of Liberty and More

The Sons of Liberty began in Boston after the Stamp Act was proposed. During this time of rising dissent, small groups of men from the city of Boston began to meet outdoors in public places, in taverns and in private.homes to express their collective disapproval of the Stamp Act.

Eventually, the groups grew larger and took to burning effigies of city officials, responsible for collecting the tax. Andrew Oliver was the most common target. In the worst incident a raucous mob, broke the windows to his house and busted into his wine cellar, where they liberated generous amounts of vino.

The Stamp Act was repealed, but the meetings and political discussions continued. All during this time, Samuel Adams was often the most visible member of this organization, due mainly to the blistering editorials he wrote for local newspapers.

The Boston Tea Party

During the Boston Tea Party, dissidents from the city of Boston boarded a cargo ship and tossed all the tea into the Boston harbor.
During the Boston Tea Party, dissidents from the city of Boston boarded a cargo ship and tossed all the tea into the Boston harbor.

The Tea Act Really Gets Things Going

If the Stamp Act was bothersome to the residents of Atlantic Seaboard, then the Tea Act of 1773 was incendiary. In the fall of 1773, tea shipments to the Colonies had already been blocked in New York, Philadelphia and Charleston, when a few Boston merchants attempted to import several shiploads of the popular beverage. The result of such an action was the Boston Tea Party, whereabouts several dozen protesters, including Samuel Adams, boarded the ships and dumped all the tea in the harbor. This action by the so-called "Sons of Liberty" helped push the Colonies to the brink of war.

Samuel Adams Speaks To the Continental Congress

Adams Gets a Reprieve from Troublemaking and Rebelrousing

In 1774, Samuel Adams was elected as a Massachusetts delegate to the First Continental Congress. This was a major lifestyle change for Samuel, for it now meant that the Boston ruffian would have to travel to Philadelphia and sit down with the likes of many well-refined New World gentlemen and draft a set of laws to govern the proposed new nation.

As part of the Second Continental Congress, Samuel Adams signed the Declaration of Independence, along with 55 others. But as fate would have it, Samuel Adams did not participate directly in the Revolutionary War, as a fighter. Instead he returned to the Bay Colony, where he served as a state senator, lieutenant governor and eventually governor.

Sources

The American Revolution, Samuel Adams, http://www.history.com/topics/american-revolution/samuel-adams

Samuel Adams (Sr.) Heritage, http://www.samuel-adams-heritage.com/biography/family.html

The Sudsy History of Samuel Adams, http://www.history.com/news/hungry-history/the-sudsy-history-of-samuel-adams

Jim Koch Learns He's a Billionaire, https://www.cnbc.com/2016/09/27/sam-adams-founder-jim-koch-describes-the-moment-he-found-out-he-was-a-billionaire.html

Sons of Liberty, https://www.bostonteapartyship.com/sons-of-liberty

5 Myths About Samuel Adams, https://constitutioncenter.org/blog/five-big-myths-about-samuel-adams-in-the-history-channel-series





Questions & Answers

    © 2018 Harry Nielsen

    Comments

      0 of 8192 characters used
      Post Comment

      No comments yet.

      working

      This website uses cookies

      As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, owlcation.com uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

      For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at: https://owlcation.com/privacy-policy#gdpr

      Show Details
      Necessary
      HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
      LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
      Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
      AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
      HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
      HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
      Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
      CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
      Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the googleapis.com or gstatic.com domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
      Features
      Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
      Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
      Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
      Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
      Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
      VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
      PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
      Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
      MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
      Marketing
      Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
      Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
      Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
      Statistics
      Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
      ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
      Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)