Samuel Adams: Address to the Massachusetts Legislature

(1795)

Samuel Adams’s emergence as a prominent crafter of political documents began in 1764, when Britain placed direct taxes on Americans. From 1764 on, Adams consistently labored to persuade his fellow colonists to resist Britain’s efforts to reshape the empire. He supported using economic boycotts to oppose the Stamp Act (1765) and the Townshend duties (1767). He seethed when Britain introduced troops into Boston in 1768 and soon decided that only independence could protect Americans’ rights. Once the Revolutionary War began in 1775, Adams gave special attention to fashioning and defending central and state governments that were approved by the people and that protected their liberties. In his Address to the Massachusetts Legislature of 1795—a “state of the commonwealth” speech he gave as governor—Adams emphasizes many of his core political beliefs, specifically his commitment to protect constitutional governments that rest on the authority of the citizens....

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Sam Adams (Library of Congress)

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