Click on the title to link to a "Wikipedia' entry for American revolutionary leader Samuel Adams.
SAMUEL ADAMS:FATHER OF THE AMERICAN REVOLUTION, PHILLIP MULS, PALGRAVE MACMILLAN, NEW YORK, 2006
One of the seeming paradoxes of the American Revolution is that, unlike later revolutions, the issues in dispute, centrally the question of taxation without representation, appear from this distance to have been resolvable by essentially parliamentary means until very late in the conflict. This paradox is reflected in the attitudes and political maneuverings of the members of the various colonial leaderships, Samuel Adams included. Unlike the French Revolution or the Russian Revolution there were apparently few conscious revolutionaries ready to take drastic action to gain independence until events forced their hands. Moreover, unlike those revolutions which were more or less predicted by substantial numbers of the people involved based on a whole series of social, political and economic factors the situation in America did not on the surface cry out for such a resolution. However, like those governments the various pre-revolutionary British governments and particularly the person of George III clung to their prerogatives beyond all reason. That is the unifying factor among all three revolutions.
That said, Samuel Adams, by hook or by crook, stands heads above the other colonial leaders in pressing the fight against the Crown to the end. He, unlike others in the various colonial leaderships, did not waiver when it became clear that nothing short of independence would resolve the conflict. From the time of the fight against the Stamp Act through the fight over the quartering of British troops in Boston to the ramifications of the Boston Massacre, the Townsend Acts, the Tea Party, the creation of the committees of correspondence to the call for the Continental Congress his name, thought and pen are linked to the struggles, particularly the struggles in Massachusetts, a pivotal locale of the colonial struggles. Moreover, again unlike other leaders, he was throughout the controversies connected with the plebian masses through the Sons of Liberty. Thus, without exaggeration he can truly be called a tribune of the people. That he has been placed on a lesser level in the pantheon of revolutionary heroes has more to do with how and who writes history than in the measure of the importance of his role in the Revolution.
One can make a strong argument that Adams’s organizational skills were critical to the successful union of the colonies into a unitary fighting force against the Crown. His committees of correspondence, which he initiated in Massachusetts, as a means for dispensing information, producing propaganda and cohering a collective leadership for that colony and which he was instrumental in expanding to the other colonies led to the Continental Congress and thereafter to its call for a Declaration of Independence make the case. No, he did not have a big role in the Declaration itself nor did he play a national role in the revolutionary struggle but one can clearly see his imprint on the thinking (and doing) of the times. The American Revolution was carried out by big men doing a big job. Sam Adams was a big man. If a closet Tory like his cousin John Adams has, due to recent biographical publicity, emerged as a bigger icon in the revolutionary galaxy then Sam Adams’s role certainly needs to be reevaluated. Read more.