My name is Samuel Adams. I was born in Boston, Massachusetts, on September 27, 1722, the son of local merchant and Puritan Church deacon Samuel Adams, Sr. I was privileged to attend Boston Latin School and Harvard College, where I learned from the writings of John Locke that all people were born with unalienable Natural Law Rights and that moral government was based on the consent of the governed. My master’s degree thesis in 1743 explored the legality of resisting the authority of the British King.
In 1748, I inherited my father’s business after he passed away, but I wasn’t very good at running it. After it went bankrupt, I became a city tax collector, but my poor skill at keeping financial records led to significant discrepancies and deficits. A cynic might say I was a politician-in-training, but I would disagree.
Although I was not proficient with numbers, it turns out I was skilled at writing. My early articles advised my fellow colonists about the importance of protecting their individual freedom. I really hit my stride when King George imposed onerous taxes on us to pay for his Seven Years’ War. We colonists had no representation in British government, so I condemned this “taxation without representation” as a violation of our rights.
I was elected to the Massachusetts House of Representatives in 1765, but soon realized that outright activism against British rule was the only way to gain our freedom. I often met with a secret group of patriots called the Loyal Nine which was the nucleus of what became the Sons of Liberty.
The Sons of Liberty were a grassroots group of instigators and provocateurs in colonial America who used an extreme form of civil disobedience—threats, and in some cases actual violence—to intimidate loyalists and outrage the British government. The goal of the radicals was to push moderate colonial leaders into a confrontation with the Crown.
You might say I was a member of the very first Tea Party group. In fact, on December 16, 1773, the Sons of Liberty boarded three ships in Boston Harbor and threw 45 tons of tea into the icy water. The event was called the Boston Tea Party. By this time, the British had about enough of me and my Sons of Liberty brothers. So, they sent General Gage to Lexington with orders to seize guns and military supplies of the colonists and, according to some, to arrest John Hancock and me.
At North Bridge in Concord, our Minute Men finally engaged the British. It was indeed the “shot heard round the world”. Our American War of Independence had begun – the upstart colonists of the New World taking on England, the major superpower of the Old World – in order to establish the principles of Natural Law Rights and freedom for each individual.
Here are some of the things I wrote and said. If they apply to your current situation, I implore you to heed my warnings and the wisdom of my experience.
All might be free if they valued freedom, and defended it as they should.
Among the natural rights of the Colonists are these: First, a right to life; Secondly, to liberty; Thirdly, to property; together with the right to support and defend them in the best manner they can.
There can be no property in that which another can of right take from us without our consent.
The natural liberty of man is to be free from any superior power on Earth, and not to be under the will or legislative authority of man, but only to have the law of nature for his rule.
The Constitution shall never be construed . . . to prevent the people of the United States who are peaceable citizens from keeping their own arms.
. . . the necessity of the times, more than ever, calls for our utmost circumspection, deliberation, fortitude, and perseverance.
It does not take a majority to prevail… but rather an irate, tireless minority, keen on setting brushfires of freedom in the minds of men.
Shame on the men who can court exemption from present trouble and expense at the price of their own posterity’s liberty!
If ye love wealth better than liberty, the tranquility of servitude better than the animating contest of freedom, go home from us in peace. We ask not your counsels or arms. Crouch down and lick the hands which feed you. May your chains set lightly upon you, and may posterity forget that ye were our countrymen.
Resist Tyranny and Trust in Freedom!
By Dr. Dan Eichenbaum of Freedom Forum Radio
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