Samuel Adams (1722-1803) inherited a one-third interest in his father’s prosperous brewery but lost most of his fortune through mismanagement. If he was not very adept at handling money, Adams was highly skilled at politics; after attending Harvard, he attracted a wide following among members of Boston’s many political clubs. Adams was instrumental in creating the most influential and radical of the clubs, the Sons of Liberty. In 1765, Adams organized the protest against the Stamp Act.
Elected to the lower house of the Massachusetts legislature, Adams served from 1765 to 1774 and composed the great protest documents of the era, including the Circular Letter (1768) against the Townshend Acts. He fanned the flames of resistance and rebellion in the popular press, and after 1770, was chief architect of intercolonial “committees of correspondence,” which coordinated the developing revolution. Adams was a prime mover behind the Boston Tea Party of 1773.
A principal member of the First Continental Congress, Samuel Adams participated in drafting the 1781 Articles of Confederation, preecursor of the Constitution.