Samuel Adams: Radical Puritan

Political Views Over the Sugar act

The Sugar act or simply American revenue act entails the derivation of a mechanism to raise tax. The act, passed by Great Britain parliament in 5 April 1764, states that, “it is expedient that new provisions and regulations should be established for improving the revenue of this Kingdom…and…It is just and necessary that revenue should be raised…for defraying the expenses of defending, protecting, and securing the same” (Countryman 51).

The 1733 tax rate that was agreed upon in the molasses act had been significantly reduced but since the tax had not been successfully collected due to colonial invasions, the American duties act attracted imposition of strict measures into place to ensure t tax collection. The action to impose the measures invited queries by the colonialists regarding the British parliament’s intent. This facilitated the growth of movements opposed to the proponents of the act.

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Adams expressed his political discontent by writing inflammatory letters. On the other hand, Otis defended the colonies by resting his cases on “laws of nature and goodness of British constitution, both terms of sufficiency ambiguous for him to convince vast audiences that his arguments were unanswerable” (Countryman 92).

Despite expressing their political discontent in different ways, they were both opposed to the act. Both Adams and Otis, according to Countryman, “The Sugar Act underscored a growing disconnect between Britain and the colonies” (44). The two opponents viewed imposition of the tax act as away to counter and recover the costs incurred in defending British colonies.

Adams’ Role in the Stamp act

Samuel Adams housed in an umbrella under the name, sons of liberty, rose up to in hard way to oppose the act. Sons of liberty declared the tax illegal and not right. To put words into actions, according to Adams, “…they burned the stamps and drove out the stamp tax collectors…” (4.6).

Adams plays a significant role in heading the Boston sons of liberty group, which is deemed one of the rowdiest patriotic groups in Boston. His role saw him elected in the general court of Massachusetts in 1765. He came up with strategies to spread immense brouhaha of the stamp act. The strategy made the Bostonians to reelect him despite his acts that threatened to corrupt the entire Boston city.

Boston under the captainship of Adams made up its mind to drive away Oliver and city stamp tax master from the Boston city. Adams notes that, “They hung Oliver in effigy from the city’s Liberty Tree, and the Suffolk sheriff refused to cut it down out of fear for his life” (4.6). A mob gathered by Adams, burnt a building, which was set aside for housing the stamp offices headquarters, cut off Oliver’s head effigy and ransacked Oliver’s house under the full glare of the governor.

These actions resulted to resignation of Oliver on realization that the city drummers were part of the mob, which had set the stamp headquarters building ablaze. Several custom offices were invaded with a climax of flattening of Tomas Hutchinson under authorization of Adams.

Adams also united gangs from north and south Boston, which roamed in the Boston city. Before the onset of British troops to enforce the stamp laws made by the parliament, almost the entire of Boston group remained headed by sons of liberty with Adams as the head.

A permit to conduct businesses with stamps was given by the rival group. The failure for the convection held in New York to unite all colonies to act against tax, give an amicable opportunity for sons of liberty to forge alliances with military from clubs in other British colonies. Consequently, Britain withdrew the stamp act in 1766.

Jon Hancock’s relation to Adams and his role in the Townsend Act crisis

Townshend acts, established to raise taxes in British colonies formed part of the work of Charles Townshend- councilor of ‘the exchequer’. The acts established policies of levying tax on paint, glass, paper, lead and tea. The tax on these commodities was levied on arrivals into the colonies. This made “a departure from earlier taxation schemes that had been primarily for regulating trade” (Flower 75). The acts were popularly termed as Revenue acts of 1767. John Hancock was a long time friend to john Adams.

The two friends had stalemate due to reluctance of Adams to back George Washington who acted as an army commander. In November 1772, Adams formed Boston committee of correspondence, which Hancock was reluctant to join. This had an impact of creating an agreement impasse between wings of power. However, Adams and Hancock united much later in 1773 to fight constitution adoption.

John Hancock played a major role in Townshend crisis where he emerged as a hero. His ship, liberty was seized an act that invoked a myriad of riots in Boston. “Hancock joined other Bostonians in calling for a boycott of British imports until the Townshend duties were repealed” (Flower 173).

Hancock seemed targeted by customs board on suspicion that he involved in smuggling of tea. Alternatively, they must have intended to harm his political ambitions due to his failure to avail himself before the presence of custom officials during their public forums.

John Hancock also wrote a letter protesting for Townshend acts. In the letter he noted that “Taxes equally detrimental to the commercial interests of the Parent country and the colonies are imposed upon the People, without their consent; Taxes designed for the Support of the Civil Government in the Colonies, in a Manner clearly unconstitutional” (Flower 200).

The “Journal of the Times” and the paper’s role in the protest movement

One of the themes in the Journal of the New Times was attraction of mass rejection of Adams opponents. Adam had attempted to publicly black list the Tories through publishing all names in the journal, which appeared in the Boston gazette.

Adams “…demanded that votes in the Massachusetts House be recorded by name, and the Tories who opposed Adams’s men found their names publicly announced” (5.4). The second theme is political individualism. By publishing the journal, Adams was sure to obtain political star rise. Governor Bernard countered the Adams move but his efforts yielded no substantial fruits.

Bernard had thrown out patriots appointed in posts of the government for instance militia posts. However, his strategies failed to work since “the effort backfired, and the opposition picked up nineteen seats in the House–exclusively at the cost of “black- listed” Tories” (Flower 231).

Opposed to Bernard’s expectation Adams rose to the position of a clerk via his patriotic assembly. Otis, his friend on the other hand, became the assembly speaker. Furthermore, Laments that Adams that “Adams oversaw the removal from the Massachusetts Council of six supporters of Governor Francis Bernard, the colony’s highest governing body” (Countryman 108).

Boston reacted to the Non-Importation Act by thinking outside the box to change their economies. According to Adams, “the non importation agreements marked a change in American economics, because it forced the development of local industries not previously viable in the colonies…” (6.5).

Adams together with other leaders thought of initiating clothe manufacturing industries: an effort that was laughed at by Britons. The manufacturing efforts facilitated to foster and encourage “inter colony unity and a sense of independence” (Flower 236). Economic independence was high on the horizon. Britons were also concerned about and felt that political independence was also paramount.

Hutchinson’s views on politics and his role in the Boston Massacre

Hutchison believed that the only way to put into place a mechanism to ensure compliance with politically instigated policies was through troop’s interventions. To him any political demands were to be responded to ardently to ensure Britain continues to reign in its colonies. The Boston massacre was one of the exemplifications of Hutchinson sternness. Adams had initiated the circumstances that lead to the massacre.

“On March 4, 1770, Bostonians awoke to find the city plastered with convincing forgeries of orders laying out a massive attack on the townspeople of Boston “signed” by prominent British soldiers” (Flower 240). Adams strategy to deal with the colonial power, forced the public to react with overwhelming wrath. Armed with various weapons such clubs and firm tools, a mob confronted the British troops.

It is Hutchinson, being the chief commander of all the naval and army forces within the colony, who sent troop backup to help confront the mob. When one of the solders recovered his gun upon the knockdown beats by the mob with garbage, rocks and snowballs opened fire to the mob and others took after their colleague. This is what resulted to Boston massacre in which “five civilians were killed- including Attucks, Gray, Caldwell and Carr” (Countryman 97).

An on looking man also died though he took no pragmatic roles in the riots. The Hutchinson hasty reaction to solve any political impasse greatly contributed to the negative perception of the mob about the intents of the colonial forces. He thus contributed substantially towards idealization of propaganda spread by Adams and his boys about the decision arrived at by the Britain to deal mercilessly with the civilians who defied their laws.

Furthermore, Hutchinson saw no threat imposition by his troops and therefore could nothing about them when Adams called for withdraw of regiment responsible for the Boston massacre though he latter give in to Adams demands.

Hutchinson’s letters and Britain’s response to the Boston Tea Party

In December 1773, a group of Bostonian organized by Sam Adams destroyed a consignment of tea onboard liberty ship. A controversy consequently ensued between the colonialists and the Americans.

East Indiana Company which had the monopoly to sale tea to Britain at wholesale, which was later exported to the some colonies particularly Boston, had faced undying challenges emanating from Dutch tea smuggling business in Britain and to Americans.

To secure the company operations in Britain and enable the company withstand the winds of competition due to smuggled tea, the British parliament passed an act, which encouraged reduction of tax on tea consumed in Britain. Britain also, according to Adams, “…gave the East India Company a refund of the 25% duty on tea that was re-exported to the colonies” (6.4).

The impact was reduction of revenues which were later to be recovered by enactment and passing of Townshend revenue act. The act required more levy of new taxes on colonies. Tea was one of the products that seemed targeted. Instead of “solving the smuggling problem, however, the Townshend duties renewed a controversy about Parliament’s right to tax the colonies” (Countryman 167).

Hutchinson letter urged London to take a harsh response to Boston tea party following the sons of liberty actions to destroy tea that was on transit returning back to Britain following protests against breach of Bostonians constitutional rights. Lord Noth, the then Britain prime minister said ‘whatever may be the consequences, we must risk something; if not, all is over” (Countryman 190).

In an attempt to punish the act, Britain responded by closing Boston port, engineered it, and put in to place coercive acts. Benjamin Franklin demanded the repayment for the tea that experienced destruction by the colonies.

Achievements at the First and Second Continental Congresses

Agreements for burning importation of goods from Britain formed part of the discussion between the various colonies. All colonies had to obey them until Britain lifted the burn on Boston port.

Adams notes that, “The agreement went far beyond earlier no importation agreements, and the citizens of Massachusetts were sure that the British bankers would not let the British government throw the colonies away” (9.3) since they had extended considerable loan (more than four million pounds) to colonialists. When New York countered on the idea to convene continental congress, Adams moved in to the idea in hurry since he had urged for a similar meeting right from 1773.

During the first congress, Adams, Christopher Gadsden and Richard hennery lee played hard to unveil the intentions of the meeting though behind the behind scenes.

Galloway appreciated the significant power the parliament plays but also, outlined a plan for Britain and America to unite strongly. According to Galloway “the colonies would be governed by an American Grand Council, the equivalent of a local Parliament, and a Crown-appointed Resident General would oversee the Council” (Countryman 231).

The congress agreed that any acts of atrocity extended to Boston would face reciprocations with military response garnered from all across the colonies. “The Congress also passed a less- sweeping version of the Solemn Covenant, but none doubted the measures would still have an effect” (Countryman 235).

During the second continental congress Adams and john cornered the congress to demand independence from Britons but other delegates perceived such a move as way of depicting that the colonies were weak. Instead the congress resolved to “wait until the British attacks had grown to such a point where it was forced to declare independence” (Countryman 235).

Adams and Hancock’s relationship during writing of the Mass State Constitution

The rivalry emerged when Adams rose to support George Washington as the commandant in favor of Hancock. The rivalry between the two friends existed for the rest of the warring time. Adams returned to Boston after the second convection was over in an attempt to go and restore order in Boston dominated by a myriad of chaos.

Adams was opposed to the constitution, his state having rejected the first draft because the needs of the American were vast and thus not equally addressed. When the convection for the constitution was called, john Adams and Sam Adams were nominated for the noble task. Unfortunately, Sam Adams fell unwell and thus john Adams, apart from article III solely written by him, wrote the entire constitution.

Attempts to move articles of confederation in to constitution concerned Adams. “He fully believed that the united States were too large and had too many different needs to be adequately represented under a single government” (Countryman 239). According to Adams, the capacity of the constitution to provide sufficient protection to civil liberties was questionable.

He remained silent with his concerns until his appointment as Massachusetts delegate. On recognition of Adams opposition to the constitution, other delegates “cultivated and organized a vote among Boston workingmen and artisans–Adams’s core supporters–to rebuke Adams for his anti-Constitution outbursts” (Countryman 239).

Adams seemed to lose his supporters. Adams opposition to the constitution had invited remedy to the spoilt relationship with Hancock so as that could drum up fight against the constitution together.

Role of Adams during the Ratification process and political role afterwards

Adams played pragmatic roles in the ratification process. In the ratification process, he was the catalyst for san souci club to loudly voice through their grievances. He notes that, “Boston’s nightlife began to rival that of New York’s.

Rumors even swirled that the city might become home to a gambling club that allowed girls over the age of sixteen inside” (10.9). Adams also began to write editorials reminiscent to the sugar or stamps controversy.

He advised that, “…the city could be corrupted so soon after it won its freedom and cleansed itself of the impurities of Britain” (Adams 10.9). In fact, he went to an extent to attempt to have a travelling theatre group jailed. Adams reacted to the condemnations by Harvard student and termed his action as having hit ‘just right’.

Adams began to rise politically again during the French revolution of 1793 and after the death of Hancock in the same year. Until his death, Hancock was the Massachusetts governor. According to Countryman, “…Adams became the leader of the Jacobin faction of Massachusetts government” (203).

The roaming in streets of Jacobean faithful had alarmed onset of a revolution under captainship of Adams. “French tricolors began to appear around Boston and gangs of Jacobin supporters roamed the streets in a throwback to the days of the Sons of Liberty” (Countryman 240).

His influence died in 1790s and climax reached in 1795 when Adams opponent managed to remove his supporters from incumbency. With regard to Flower, he “…failed to win the 1796 selection to as an elector opposed t o his cousin and announced he would step from governor” (10). The entire country went wholly in favor of the constitution making Adams much less popular only for him to die in 1803 as a politically disappointed man.

Works Cited

Adams, Samuel. Radical Puritan. Oxford: Oxford UP, 2007.

Countryman, Edward. The American Revolution: revised edition. New York: Hill & Wang, 2003.

Flower, Williams. Samuel Adams: Radical puritan. London: Longman, 1997.