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Samuel Adams
1722 - 1803

Lawyer, businessman, statesman. Adams was influential in Boston and Massacheusetts as a civic leader and leader of the state legislature (1765-1774). He helped spark resistance to the Stamp Act, and was a member of the Continental Congress until 1781. He drafted many of the legislative documents in his city and state, and was a signator of the Declaration of Independence before becoming a state senator and eventually governor of Massacheusetts.


A general dissolution of principles and manners will more surely overthrow the liberties of America than the whole force of common enemy. While the people are virtuous they cannot be subdued; but when they lose their virtue they will be ready to surrender their liberties to the first external or internal invader... If virtue and knowledge are diffused among the people, they will never be enslaved. This will be their great security.

He therefore is the truest friend to 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...

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.

Aug. 1, 1776
It does not require a majority to prevail, but rather an irate, tireless minority keen to set brush fires in people's minds...

Among the natural rights of the colonists are these: First a right to life, secondly to liberty, and thirdly to property; together with the right to defend them in the best manner they can.

Nov. 20, 1772
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. Events which excite those feelings will produce wonderful effects.

Apr. 30, 1776 - from a letter to Samuel Cooper
He who is void of virtuous attachments in private life is, or very soon will be, void of all regard for his country. There is seldom an instance of a man guilty of betraying his country, who had not before lost the feeling of moral obligations in his private connections.

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 received them as a fair inheritance from our worthy ancestors. They purchased them for us with toil and danger and expense 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 bequeathed 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.

Neither the wisest constitution nor the wisest laws will secure the liberty and happiness of a people whose manners are universally corrupt.

The right to freedom being the gift of God, it is not in the power of man to alienate this gift and voluntarily become a slave.