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Picture of Samuel Adams
[Library of Congress, Prints & Photographs Division, Detroit Publishing Company Collection]


Signer of the Declaration of Independence (Massachusetts)

Biographical Data
Religious Views
References, Links, & Further Reading

Education: Harvard

Occupation: lawyer, businessman

Political Affiliation:

Religious Affiliation: Congregationalist

Summary of Religious Views:

Samuel Adams was devoted to public worship, as the following anecdote illustrates: When Congress was meeting in York, Pennsylvania, Adams would attend services conducted in German when no alternative services were available, even though he didn't speak German.

Views on Religion & Politics:


"As neither reason requires nor religion permits the contrary, every man living in or out of a state of civil society has a right peaceably and quietly to worship God according to the dictates of his conscience." -- The Rights of the Colonists, 20 November 1772

"In regard to religion, mutual toleration in the different professions thereof is what all good and candid minds in all ages have ever practised, and, both by precept and example, inculcated on mankind. And it is now generally agreed among Christians that this spirit of toleration, in the fullest extent consistent with the being of civil society, is the chief characteristical mark of the Church. Insomuch that Mr. Locke has asserted and proved, beyond the possibility of contradiction on any solid ground, that such toleration ought to be extended to all whose doctrines are not subversive of society. The only sects which he thinks ought to be, and which by all wise laws are excluded from such toleration, are those who teach doctrines subversive of the civil government under which they live." -- The Rights of the Colonists, 20 November 1772

"[I]n the judgment of heaven there is no other superiority among men than a superiority in wisdom and virtue. And can we have a safer model in forming ours? The Deity, then, has not given any order or family of men authority over others; and if any men have given it, they only could give it for themselves." -- American Independence (speech), 1 August 1776

"The civil magistrate has everywhere contaminated religion by making it an engine of policy; and 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. Let us cherish the noble guests, and shelter them under the wings of a universal toleration! Be this the seat of unbounded religious freedom. She will bring with her in her train, industry, wisdom, and commerce. She thrives most when left to shoot forth in her natural luxuriance, and asks from human policy only not to be checked in her growth by artificial encouragements." -- American Independence (speech), 1 August 1776

References, Links, & Further Reading: Books, Articles, Links


Works by Samuel Adams

ed. by Harry Alonzo Cushing, The Writings of Samuel Adams, 4 vols., G.P. Putnam's Sons, 1904-1908; Vol. I Vol. II Vol. III Vol. IV


John K. Alexander, Samuel Adams: America's Revolutionary Politician (American Profiles), Rowman & Littlefield, 2002
John K. Alexander, Samuel Adams: The Life of an American Revolutionary, Rowman & Littlefield, 2011
Stewart Beach, Samuel Adams: The Fateful Years 1764-1776, Dodd, Mead & Co., 1965
Cass Canfield, Samuel Adams's Revolution, 1765-1776, Harper & Row, 1976
Donald Barr Chidsey, World of Samuel Adam, Penguin Putnam, 1974
William M. Fowler, Jr., Samuel Adams: Radical Puritan (Library of American Biography Series), Longmans/Addison-Wesley, 1997
Ralph V. Harlow, Samuel Adams, Promoter of the American Revolution: A Study in Psychology and Politics, Henry Holt and Co., 1923
James K. Hosmer, American Statesmen: Samuel Adams, Houghton, Mifflin, and Co., 1888
Benjamin H. Irvin, Samuel Adams: Son of Liberty, Father of Revolution (Oxford Portraits), Oxford Univ. Press, 2002
John C. Miller, Sam Adams, Pioneer in Propaganda, Little, Brown, 1936, Stanford Univ. Press
Mark Puls, Samuel Adams: Father of the American Revolution, Palgrave Macmillan, 2006
Ira Stoll, Samuel Adams: A Life, Free Press, 2008
William V. Wells, The Life and Public Services of Samuel Adams, 3 vols., 1865-1868; Vol. I Vol. II Vol. III


Charles W. Akers, "Sam Adams -- And Much More," New England Quarterly, Vol. 47, No. 1, March 1974, pp. 120-131
Ellis Gray, "The Father of the Revolution," Harper's New Monthly Magazine, Vol. 53, Iss. 314, July 1876, pp. 185-195
Edward P. Guild, "The Patriot Samuel Adams," The Bay State monthly, Vol. 3, Iss. 6, November 1885, pp. 401-408
Elan D. Louis, "Samuel Adams' tremor," Neurology, Vol. 56, No. 9, 8 May 2001, pp. 1201-1205
Marvin Olasky, "Samuel Adams: Re-Evaluating a Journalistic Calvinist," Antithesis, Vol. I, No. 4, July/August 1990
James M. O'Toole, "The Historical Interpretations of Samuel Adams," New England Quarterly, Vol. 49, March 1976, pp. 82-96


Works by Samuel Adams

Samuel Adams: Selected Works (Humanities Web)
The Rights of the Colonists (Hanover Historical Texts Project)
The Rights of the Colonists (The Founders' Constitution)
The Rights of Colonists (TeachingAmericanHistory.org)
The Rights of the Colonists (Constitution Society)
Circular Letter from the Massachusetts House of Representatives to the Speakers of other Houses of Representatives (Founders' Library)
Samuel Adams to James Warren (TeachingAmericanHistory.org)

Biographical Sites

ADAMS, Samuel, 1722-1803 (Biographical Directory of the US Congress)
Samuel Adams (ushistory.org: Signers of the Declaration of Independence)
Samuel Adams (Colonial Hall)
Samuel Adams (Signers of the Declaration of Independence -- National Park Service)

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