Samuel Adams: Biography, Facts & History

Instructor: Tamara Dean
The patriots needed someone radical, like Samuel Adams, when tensions with England were rising. Read more about this revolutionary with a rebellious nature was one of the major factors in the United States becoming an independent nation.

Samuel Adams: The History

Samuel Adams was born on September 27, 1722 in Boston Massachusetts to Samuel Adams Sr. and Mary Adams. His parents were devout puritans, and his father was an active deacon in their church. Samuel Adams took his puritan heritage seriously, and his outlook on life and events rested greatly on morals.

He graduated from Harvard College in 1740. After failing at many attempts at owning his own business, including a brewery, he made the decision to take up politics, which was his true passion. Adams had occupied several political and governmental positions most of which were for the purpose of expressing his discontent with England. Samuel Adams became more and more popular as he spoke out against British oppression taking place in Boston and the colonies.

Samuel Adams was considered a Patriot, an advocate for independence from Britain
Sam Adams

How Was Samuel Adams Significant to the American Revolution?

During a time when tensions were rising between England and the colonists, Samuel Adams along with James Otis formed a group called the The Sons of Liberty. The members of the Sons of Liberty protested firmly against the Stamp Act, which was a direct tax that Britain had put on the colonists after the French and Indian War.

The Sons of Liberty were known for inciting riots, tarring and feathering tax collectors, and even burning effigies, which are rag figures representing unpopular tax collectors. They also raided and demolished houses belonging to royal officials. The group also organized boycotts of British goods. Colonists were urged to refuse to buy British goods. British merchants were losing so much money that they pleaded with Parliament to repeal the Stamp Act.

The famous battle cry of the Sons of Liberty was 'no taxation without representation.'

Samuel Adams' Involvement in the Boston Massacre

In 1770, a scuffle broke out between the townspeople of Boston and the redcoats. This event was known as the Boston Massacre, and 5 people were killed during this tragic encounter. Samuel Adams was instrumental in spreading propaganda about the killings at the Boston Massacre. (Propaganda is information designed to influence opinion.) Adams posted flyers around the town describing the event as a slaughter of innocent Americans by reckless and heartless redcoats. Boycotts grew stronger in response to the Boston Massacre. Samuel Adams and Paul Revere called this event the Bloody Massacrein hopes to rally colonial support against the British force.

In 1772, Samuel Adams reorganized the Boston Committee of Correspondence. This organization published writings listing the many colonial grievances against the British. Soon, other committees of correspondence began to be formed throughout the colonies as British opposition was reaching a boiling point.

Samuel Adams and the Boston Tea Party

In response to yet another tax, (the tax on tea), the Sons of Liberty, led by Samuel Adams, also organized the Boston Tea Party. On December 16, 1773, the group dressed as Mohawk Indians and armed themselves with hatchets as they marched to the dock where tons of tea were to be unloaded. They boarded the ship at midnight and threw 342 chests of tea overboard. As colonists heard the news, they gathered in the streets to celebrate the boldness of the Sons of Liberty.

To unlock this lesson you must be a Member.
Create your account

Register to view this lesson

Are you a student or a teacher?

Unlock Your Education

See for yourself why 30 million people use

Become a member and start learning now.
Become a Member  Back
What teachers are saying about
Try it risk-free for 30 days

Earning College Credit

Did you know… We have over 200 college courses that prepare you to earn credit by exam that is accepted by over 1,500 colleges and universities. You can test out of the first two years of college and save thousands off your degree. Anyone can earn credit-by-exam regardless of age or education level.

To learn more, visit our Earning Credit Page

Transferring credit to the school of your choice

Not sure what college you want to attend yet? has thousands of articles about every imaginable degree, area of study and career path that can help you find the school that's right for you.

Create an account to start this course today
Try it risk-free for 30 days!
Create an account