Samuel Adams quotes

Samuel Adams photo
57   0

Samuel Adams

Birthdate: 27. September 1722
Date of death: 2. October 1803
Other names: சாமுவேல் ஆடம்ஸ், Самуел Адамс

Samuel Adams was an American statesman, political philosopher, and one of the Founding Fathers of the United States. He was a politician in colonial Massachusetts, a leader of the movement that became the American Revolution, and one of the architects of the principles of American republicanism that shaped the political culture of the United States. He was a second cousin to his fellow Founding Father, President John Adams.

Adams was born in Boston, brought up in a religious and politically active family. A graduate of Harvard College, he was an unsuccessful businessman and tax collector before concentrating on politics. He was an influential official of the Massachusetts House of Representatives and the Boston Town Meeting in the 1760s, and he became a part of a movement opposed to the British Parliament's efforts to tax the British American colonies without their consent. His 1768 Massachusetts Circular Letter calling for colonial non-cooperation prompted the occupation of Boston by British soldiers, eventually resulting in the Boston Massacre of 1770. Adams and his colleagues devised a committee of correspondence system in 1772 to help coordinate resistance to what he saw as the British government's attempts to violate the British Constitution at the expense of the colonies, which linked like-minded Patriots throughout the Thirteen Colonies. Continued resistance to British policy resulted in the 1773 Boston Tea Party and the coming of the American Revolution.

Parliament passed the Coercive Acts in 1774, at which time Adams attended the Continental Congress in Philadelphia which was convened to coordinate a colonial response. He helped guide Congress towards issuing the Continental Association in 1774 and the Declaration of Independence in 1776, and he helped draft the Articles of Confederation and the Massachusetts Constitution. Adams returned to Massachusetts after the American Revolution, where he served in the state senate and was eventually elected governor.

Samuel Adams later became a controversial figure in American history. Accounts written in the 19th century praised him as someone who had been steering his fellow colonists towards independence long before the outbreak of the Revolutionary War. This view gave way to negative assessments of Adams in the first half of the 20th century, in which he was portrayed as a master of propaganda who provoked mob violence to achieve his goals. Both of these interpretations have been challenged by some modern scholars, who argue that these traditional depictions of Adams are myths contradicted by the historical record.

Quotes Samuel Adams

„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.“

—  Samuel Adams

The Rights of the Colonists (1772)
Context: 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. These are evident branches of, rather than deductions from, the duty of self-preservation, commonly called the first law of nature.

„The natural liberty of man, by entering into society, is abridged or restrained, so far only as is necessary for the great end of society, the best good of the whole.“

—  Samuel Adams

The Rights of the Colonists (1772)
Context: The natural liberty of man, by entering into society, is abridged or restrained, so far only as is necessary for the great end of society, the best good of the whole. In the state of nature every man is, under God, judge and sole judge of his own rights and of the injuries done him. By entering into society he agrees to an arbiter or indifferent judge between him and his neighbors; but he no more renounces his original right than by taking a cause out of the ordinary course of law, and leaving the decision to referees or indifferent arbitrators. In the last case, he must pay the referees for time and trouble. He should also be willing to pay his just quota for the support of government, the law, and the constitution; the end of which is to furnish indifferent and impartial judges in all cases that may happen, whether civil, ecclesiastical, marine, or military.

„We cannot make Events. Our Business is wisely to improve them.“

—  Samuel Adams

Letter to Samuel Cooper (30 April 1776) http://www.gutenberg.org/etext/2093
Context: We cannot make Events. Our Business is wisely to improve them. There has been much to do to confirm doubting Friends & fortify the Timid. It requires time to bring honest Men to think & determine alike even in important Matters. Mankind are governed more by their feelings than by reason.

„Every natural right not expressly given up, or, from the nature of a social compact, necessarily ceded, remains.“

—  Samuel Adams

The Rights of the Colonists (1772)
Context: When men enter into society, it is by voluntary consent; and they have a right to demand and insist upon the performance of such conditions and previous limitations as form an equitable original compact. Every natural right not expressly given up, or, from the nature of a social compact, necessarily ceded, remains. All positive and civil laws should conform, as far as possible, to the law of natural reason and equity.

„It is not unfrequent to hear men declaim loudly upon liberty, who, if we may judge by the whole tenor of their actions, mean nothing else by it but their own liberty, — to oppress without control or the restraint of laws all who are poorer or weaker than themselves.“

—  Samuel Adams

Essay published in The Advertiser (1748) http://thingsabove.freerovin.com/samadams.htm and later reprinted in The Life and Public Service of Samuel Adams, Volume 1 (1865), by William Vincent Wells <!-- Little, Brown, and Company; Boston -->
Context: Neither the wisest constitution nor the wisest laws will secure the liberty and happiness of a people whose manners are universally corrupt. He therefore is the truest friend to the liberty of his country who tries most to promote its virtue, and who, so far as his power and influence extend, will not suffer a man to be chosen into any office of power and trust who is not a wise and virtuous man. We must not conclude merely upon a man's haranguing upon liberty, and using the charming sound, that he is fit to be trusted with the liberties of his country. It is not unfrequent to hear men declaim loudly upon liberty, who, if we may judge by the whole tenor of their actions, mean nothing else by it but their own liberty, — to oppress without control or the restraint of laws all who are poorer or weaker than themselves. It is not, I say, unfrequent to see such instances, though at the same time I esteem it a justice due to my country to say that it is not without shining examples of the contrary kind; — examples of men of a distinguished attachment to this same liberty I have been describing; whom no hopes could draw, no terrors could drive, from steadily pursuing, in their sphere, the true interests of their country; whose fidelity has been tried in the nicest and tenderest manner, and has been ever firm and unshaken.
The sum of all is, if we would most truly enjoy this gift of Heaven, let us become a virtuous people.

„Governors have no right to seek and take what they please“

—  Samuel Adams

The Rights of the Colonists (1772)
Context: Government was instituted for the purposes of common defence, and those who hold the reins of government have an equitable, natural right to an honorable support from the same principle that "the laborer is worthy of his hire." But then the same community which they serve ought to be the assessors of their pay. Governors have no right to seek and take what they please; by this, instead of being content with the station assigned them, that of honorable servants of the society, they would soon become absolute masters, despots, and tyrants. Hence, as a private man has a right to say what wages he will give in his private affairs, so has a community to determine what they will give and grant of their substance for the administration of public affairs. And, in both cases, more are ready to offer their service at the proposed and stipulated price than are able and willing to perform their duty.

„Instead of sitting down satisfied with the efforts we have already made, which is the wish of our enemies, the necessity of the times, more than ever, calls for our utmost circumspection, deliberation, fortitude, and perseverance.“

—  Samuel Adams

Essay, written under the pseudonym "Candidus," in The Boston Gazette (14 October 1771), later published in The Life and Public Services of Samuel Adams (1865) by William Vincent Wells, p. 425
Context: The liberties of our Country, the freedom of our civil constitution are worth defending at all hazards: And it is our duty to defend them against all attacks. We have receiv'd them as a fair Inheritance from our worthy Ancestors: They purchas'd them for us with toil and danger and expence of treasure and blood; and transmitted them to us with care and diligence. It will bring an everlasting mark of infamy on the present generation, enlightened as it is, if we should suffer them to be wrested from us by violence without a struggle; or be cheated out of them by the artifices of false and designing men. Of the latter we are in most danger at present: Let us therefore be aware of it. Let us contemplate our forefathers and posterity; and resolve to maintain the rights bequeath'd to us from the former, for the sake of the latter. — Instead of sitting down satisfied with the efforts we have already made, which is the wish of our enemies, the necessity of the times, more than ever, calls for our utmost circumspection, deliberation, fortitude, and perseverance. Let us remember that "if we suffer tamely a lawless attack upon our liberty, we encourage it, and involve others in our doom." It is a very serious consideration, which should deeply impress our minds, that millions yet unborn may be the miserable sharers of the event.

„Government was instituted for the purposes of common defence … In short, it is the greatest absurdity to suppose it in the power of one, or any number of men … to renounce their essential natural rights, or the means of preserving those rights“

—  Samuel Adams

The Rights of the Colonists (1772)
Context: Government was instituted for the purposes of common defence … In short, it is the greatest absurdity to suppose it in the power of one, or any number of men … to renounce their essential natural rights, or the means of preserving those rights; when the grand end of civil government, from the very nature of its institution, is for the support, protection, and defence of those very rights; the principal of which, as is before observed, are Life, Liberty, and Property. If men, through fear, fraud, or mistake, should in terms renounce or give up any essential natural right, the eternal law of reason and the grand end of society would absolutely vacate such renunciation. The right to freedom being the gift of God Almighty, it is not in the power of man to alienate this gift and voluntarily become a slave.

„It requires time to bring honest Men to think & determine alike even in important Matters. Mankind are governed more by their feelings than by reason.“

—  Samuel Adams

Letter to Samuel Cooper (30 April 1776) http://www.gutenberg.org/etext/2093
Context: We cannot make Events. Our Business is wisely to improve them. There has been much to do to confirm doubting Friends & fortify the Timid. It requires time to bring honest Men to think & determine alike even in important Matters. Mankind are governed more by their feelings than by reason.

„The Utopian schemes of levelling, and a community of goods, are as visionary and impracticable, as those which vest all property in the Crown, are arbitrary, despotic, and in our government unconstitutional.“

—  Samuel Adams

"House of Representatives of Massachusetts to Dennys De Berdt http://press-pubs.uchicago.edu/founders/documents/v1ch16s6.html, January 12th, 1768 <!-- From the Writings of Samuel Adams, pp. 134 - 152 -->
Context: Property is admitted to have an existence, even in the savage state of nature. The bow, the arrow, and the tomahawk; the hunting and the fishing ground, are species of property, as important to an American savage, as pearls, rubies, and diamonds are to the Mogul, or a Nabob in the East, or the lands, tenements, hereditaments, messuages, gold and silver of the Europeans. And if property is necessary for the support of savage life, it is by no means less so in civil society. The Utopian schemes of levelling, and a community of goods, are as visionary and impracticable, as those which vest all property in the Crown, are arbitrary, despotic, and in our government unconstitutional. Now, what property can the colonists be conceived to have, if their money may be granted away by others, without their consent?

Help us translate English quotes

Discover interesting quotes and translate them.

Start translating

„He therefore is the truest friend to the liberty of his country who tries most to promote its virtue, and who, so far as his power and influence extend, will not suffer a man to be chosen into any office of power and trust who is not a wise and virtuous man.“

—  Samuel Adams

Essay published in The Advertiser (1748) http://thingsabove.freerovin.com/samadams.htm and later reprinted in The Life and Public Service of Samuel Adams, Volume 1 (1865), by William Vincent Wells <!-- Little, Brown, and Company; Boston -->
Context: Neither the wisest constitution nor the wisest laws will secure the liberty and happiness of a people whose manners are universally corrupt. He therefore is the truest friend to the liberty of his country who tries most to promote its virtue, and who, so far as his power and influence extend, will not suffer a man to be chosen into any office of power and trust who is not a wise and virtuous man. We must not conclude merely upon a man's haranguing upon liberty, and using the charming sound, that he is fit to be trusted with the liberties of his country. It is not unfrequent to hear men declaim loudly upon liberty, who, if we may judge by the whole tenor of their actions, mean nothing else by it but their own liberty, — to oppress without control or the restraint of laws all who are poorer or weaker than themselves. It is not, I say, unfrequent to see such instances, though at the same time I esteem it a justice due to my country to say that it is not without shining examples of the contrary kind; — examples of men of a distinguished attachment to this same liberty I have been describing; whom no hopes could draw, no terrors could drive, from steadily pursuing, in their sphere, the true interests of their country; whose fidelity has been tried in the nicest and tenderest manner, and has been ever firm and unshaken.
The sum of all is, if we would most truly enjoy this gift of Heaven, let us become a virtuous people.

„The liberties of our Country, the freedom of our civil constitution are worth defending at all hazards: And it is our duty to defend them against all attacks.“

—  Samuel Adams

Essay, written under the pseudonym "Candidus," in The Boston Gazette (14 October 1771), later published in The Life and Public Services of Samuel Adams (1865) by William Vincent Wells, p. 425
Context: The liberties of our Country, the freedom of our civil constitution are worth defending at all hazards: And it is our duty to defend them against all attacks. We have receiv'd them as a fair Inheritance from our worthy Ancestors: They purchas'd them for us with toil and danger and expence of treasure and blood; and transmitted them to us with care and diligence. It will bring an everlasting mark of infamy on the present generation, enlightened as it is, if we should suffer them to be wrested from us by violence without a struggle; or be cheated out of them by the artifices of false and designing men. Of the latter we are in most danger at present: Let us therefore be aware of it. Let us contemplate our forefathers and posterity; and resolve to maintain the rights bequeath'd to us from the former, for the sake of the latter. — Instead of sitting down satisfied with the efforts we have already made, which is the wish of our enemies, the necessity of the times, more than ever, calls for our utmost circumspection, deliberation, fortitude, and perseverance. Let us remember that "if we suffer tamely a lawless attack upon our liberty, we encourage it, and involve others in our doom." It is a very serious consideration, which should deeply impress our minds, that millions yet unborn may be the miserable sharers of the event.

„The sum of all is, if we would most truly enjoy this gift of Heaven, let us become a virtuous people.“

—  Samuel Adams

Essay published in The Advertiser (1748) http://thingsabove.freerovin.com/samadams.htm and later reprinted in The Life and Public Service of Samuel Adams, Volume 1 (1865), by William Vincent Wells <!-- Little, Brown, and Company; Boston -->
Context: Neither the wisest constitution nor the wisest laws will secure the liberty and happiness of a people whose manners are universally corrupt. He therefore is the truest friend to the liberty of his country who tries most to promote its virtue, and who, so far as his power and influence extend, will not suffer a man to be chosen into any office of power and trust who is not a wise and virtuous man. We must not conclude merely upon a man's haranguing upon liberty, and using the charming sound, that he is fit to be trusted with the liberties of his country. It is not unfrequent to hear men declaim loudly upon liberty, who, if we may judge by the whole tenor of their actions, mean nothing else by it but their own liberty, — to oppress without control or the restraint of laws all who are poorer or weaker than themselves. It is not, I say, unfrequent to see such instances, though at the same time I esteem it a justice due to my country to say that it is not without shining examples of the contrary kind; — examples of men of a distinguished attachment to this same liberty I have been describing; whom no hopes could draw, no terrors could drive, from steadily pursuing, in their sphere, the true interests of their country; whose fidelity has been tried in the nicest and tenderest manner, and has been ever firm and unshaken.
The sum of all is, if we would most truly enjoy this gift of Heaven, let us become a virtuous people.

„If men, through fear, fraud, or mistake, should in terms renounce or give up any essential natural right, the eternal law of reason and the grand end of society would absolutely vacate such renunciation. The right to freedom being the gift of God Almighty, it is not in the power of man to alienate this gift and voluntarily become a slave.“

—  Samuel Adams

The Rights of the Colonists (1772)
Context: Government was instituted for the purposes of common defence … In short, it is the greatest absurdity to suppose it in the power of one, or any number of men … to renounce their essential natural rights, or the means of preserving those rights; when the grand end of civil government, from the very nature of its institution, is for the support, protection, and defence of those very rights; the principal of which, as is before observed, are Life, Liberty, and Property. If men, through fear, fraud, or mistake, should in terms renounce or give up any essential natural right, the eternal law of reason and the grand end of society would absolutely vacate such renunciation. The right to freedom being the gift of God Almighty, it is not in the power of man to alienate this gift and voluntarily become a slave.

„It does not require a majority to prevail, but rather an irate, tireless minority keen to set brush fires in the minds of men.“

—  Samuel Adams

Misattributed to Samuel Adams as early as 1990. Also misattributed to John Adams. Actually originates with Diane Ackerman, who, in an article on Samuel Adams, "The Man Who Made a Revolution", published in the September 6, 1987 issue of the widely circulated Sunday newspaper supplement Parade, wrote: "Early on, he realized that revolutions don't require a majority to prevail, but rather an irate, tireless minority keen to set brushfires in people's minds." (page numbers vary, article on pp. 20–23 in most editions with the preceding quote on p. 22 https://news.google.com/newspapers?id=qfQaAAAAIBAJ&pg=4292%2C1111900) Source: Mansour Khalid, The Government They Deserve: The Role of the Elite in Sudan's Political Evolution, London and New York: Kegan Paul International, 1990, p. 17 https://books.google.com/books?id=jZ9yAAAAMAAJ&q=brushfires. Source: Will Bunch, The Backlash: Right-Wing Radicals, Hi-Def Hucksters, and Paranoid Politics in the Age of Obama, New York: Harper, 2010, p. 49. Source: https://www.barrypopik.com/index.php/new_york_city/entry/it_does_not_require_a_majority_to_prevail_but_rather_an_irate_tireless_mino, https://lists.h-net.org/cgi-bin/logbrowse.pl?trx=lx&sort=3&list=H-OIEAHC&month=1310, http://listserv.linguistlist.org/pipermail/ads-l/2013-October/
Misattributed

„The truth is, all might be free if they valued freedom, and defended it as they ought.“

—  Samuel Adams

Essay, written under the pseudonym "Candidus," in The Boston Gazette (14 October 1771) http://www.gutenberg.org/etext/2092, later published in The Life and Public Services of Samuel Adams (1865) by William Vincent Wells, p. 425

„Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetuer adipiscing elit. Etiam egestas wisi a erat. Morbi imperdiet, mauris ac auctor dictum.“

Similar authors

Edmund Burke photo
Edmund Burke259
Anglo-Irish statesman
Francis Bacon photo
Francis Bacon290
English philosopher, statesman, scientist, jurist, and auth…
Michel De Montaigne photo
Michel De Montaigne257
(1533-1592) French-Occitan author, humanistic philosopher, …
Adam Smith photo
Adam Smith173
Scottish moral philosopher and political economist
Thomas Hobbes photo
Thomas Hobbes95
English philosopher, born 1588
Jean Jacques Rousseau photo
Jean Jacques Rousseau91
Genevan philosopher
Claude Adrien Helvétius photo
Claude Adrien Helvétius8
French philosopher
Immanuel Kant photo
Immanuel Kant198
German philosopher
John Locke photo
John Locke144
English philosopher and physician
Jeremy Bentham photo
Jeremy Bentham25
British philosopher, jurist, and social reformer
Today anniversaries
Pablo Neruda photo
Pablo Neruda136
Chilean poet 1904 - 1973
Malala Yousafzai photo
Malala Yousafzai38
Pakistani children's education activist 1997
Buckminster Fuller photo
Buckminster Fuller163
American architect, systems theorist, author, designer, inv… 1895 - 1983
William Osler photo
William Osler49
Canadian pathologist, physician, educator, bibliophile, his… 1849 - 1919
Another 63 today anniversaries
Similar authors
Edmund Burke photo
Edmund Burke259
Anglo-Irish statesman
Francis Bacon photo
Francis Bacon290
English philosopher, statesman, scientist, jurist, and auth…
Michel De Montaigne photo
Michel De Montaigne257
(1533-1592) French-Occitan author, humanistic philosopher, …
Adam Smith photo
Adam Smith173
Scottish moral philosopher and political economist
Thomas Hobbes photo
Thomas Hobbes95
English philosopher, born 1588