ADAMS, Samuel

(b. Boston, 1722 – d. Boston, 1803)
Massachusetts General Court 1765–1774
Provincial Congress
First and Second Continental Congress, 1774 and 1775
Co-author and signer of the Declaration of Independence 1776
Co-author of the Articles of Confederation 1777
Co-author of the Massachusetts Constitution 1780
House 1781; Senate 1781–1786, 1787–1788
Lt. Governor 1789–1793
Governor 1793–1797

Photograph, 12 ½ x 11 ½ in.

Samuel Adams, colonial patriot and politician, while still at Harvard where he earned undergraduate and graduate degrees, already was demonstrating his tendency to question authority, especially in unjust circumstances. He worked for a short time with Thomas Cushing (later the first Senate President), and in the family malt house, but his business skills were found as lacking as his political interests were strong. He was elected to his first post in 1747, clerk of the Boston Market, thus beginning a long career in the political limelight.

Known best for his radical views on British sovereignty over the colonies, Adams was a popular figure whose notoriety spread quickly through his political appointments, fiery essays and his clandestine engagements. Although never a wealthy man like his colleagues John Hancock, Thomas Cushing and James Bowdoin, he rose to positions of power and influence in nearly every major political event until the end of his life. As Senate President he signed, with Governor Hancock, the Charter of the first Bank of Massachusetts in 1783, which included the first provisions requiring bank examinations. Taking a philosophical approach to the role of government, he promoted republican virtues and values, supporting public education and the federal constitution if amendments could be proposed.

portrait of ADAMS, Samuel