Samuel Adams (1722-1803)

Known as “The Father of the American Revolution.”  Second cousin to John Adams.  He led the Boston Tea Party, signed the Declaration of Independence, served as a member of the Continental Congress, and helped draft the Articles of Confederation.  Served as delegate to the Massachusetts constitutional convention, president of the Massachusetts Senate, and Lieutenant Governor and Governor of Massachusetts.

“The rights and freedom being given of the Almighty…The rights of the colonists as Christians…may be best understood by reading and carefully studying the institution of The Great Law Giver and Head of the Christian Church, which are to be found clearly written and promulgated in the New Testament.”

In his work entitled, “The Rights of the Colonists,” 1772.

“We have this day restored the Sovereign to Whom all men ought to be obedient.  He reigns in heaven and from the rising to the setting of the sun, let His kingdom come.”

Declared this as the Declaration of Independence was being signed, 1776.

“A general dissolution of principles and manners will more surely overthrow the liberties of America than the whole force of the 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.”

In a letter to James Warren, February 12, 1779.

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

Statement made in a political essay, printed in The Public Advisor.

“He therefore is the truest friend to the 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…The sum of all is, if we would most truly enjoy this gift of Heaven, let us become a Virtuous people.”


“I conceive we cannot better express ourselves than by humbly supplicating the Supreme Ruler of the world…that the confusions that are and have been among the nations may be overruled by the promoting and speedily bringing in the holy and happy period when the kingdoms of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ may be everywhere established, and the people willingly bow to the sceptre of Him who is the Prince of Peace.”

In a Proclamation of a Day of Fast as Governor of Massachusetts, March 20, 1797.

“In the supposed state of nature, all men are equally bound by the laws of nature, or to speak more properly, the laws of the Creator: - They are imprinted by the finger of God on the heart of man.  Thou shall do no injury to thy neighbor, is the voice of nature and reason, and it is confirmed by written revelation.”

Addressing the state legislature of Massachusetts as Lieutenant Governor in 1794.

“Let statesman and patriots unite their endeavors to renovate the age by…educating their little boys and girls…and leading them in the study and practice of the exalted virtues of the Christian system.”

In letters.

“Every citizen will see – and I hope deeply impressed with a sense of it – how exceedingly important it is to himself, and how intimately the welfare of his children is connected with it, that those who are to have a share in making as well as in judging and executing the laws should be men of singular wisdom and integrity.”

In Writings, April 2, 1781.

“Forasmuch as it is the indispensable duty of all men to adore the superintending providence of Almighty God; to acknowledge with gratitude their obligation to Him for benefits received and to implore such farther blessings as they stand in need of…to offer humble and earnest supplication that it may please God, through the merits of Jesus Christ, mercifully to forgive and blot of remembrance…and to prosper the means of religion for the promotion and enlargement of that kingdom which consiseth “in righteousness, peace, and joy in the Holy Ghost.”

Congress appointed Samuel Adams, Richard Henry Lee, and Daniel Roberdeau to draft this proclamation for a national day of prayer and thanksgiving, November 1, 1777.

“As piety, religion and morality have a happy influence on the minds of men, in their public as well as private transactions, you will not think it unreasonable, although I have frequently done it, to bring to your remembrance the great importance of encouraging our University, town schools, and other seminaries of education, that our children and youth while they are engaged in the pursuit of useful science, may have their minds impressed with a strong sense of the duties they owe to their God.”

Writing to the Legislature of Massachusetts, January 27, 1797.

“If we continue to be a happy people, that happiness must be assured by the enacting and executing of the reasonable and wise laws expressed in the plainest language and by establishing such modes of education as tend to inculcate in the minds of youth the feelings and habits of ‘piety, religion and morality.’”

Writing to the Legislature of Massachusetts, January 16, 1795.

“Divine Revelation assures us that ‘Righteousness exalteth a nation.’  Communities are dealt with in this world by the wise and just Ruler of the Universe.  He rewards or punishes them according to their character.”

Writings of Samuel Adams, April 30, 1776.

“He who is void of virtuous attachments in private life is, or very soon will be, void of all regard of 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…Private and public vices are in reality…connected…Nothing is more essential to the establishment of manners in a State than that all persons employed in places of power and trust be men of unexceptionable characters.  The public cannot be too curious concerning the characters of public men.”

Writings to James Warren, November 4, 1775.

“The Supreme Ruler of the Universe, having been pleased in the course of His providence to establish the independence of the United States of America…we ought to be led by religious feelings of gratitude and to walk before Him in all humility according to His most holy law…That with true repentance and contrition of heart we may unitedly implore the forgiveness of our sins through the merits of Jesus Christ and humbly supplicate our heavenly Father.”

A Proclamation for a Day of Public Fasting, Humiliation, and Prayer, 1795.

“The first point of justice…consists in piety; nothing certainly being so great a debt upon us as to render to the Creator and Preserver those acknowledgments which are due to Him for our being and the hourly protection He affords us.”

Writings to Thomas Wells, November 22, 1780.

“The only true basis of all government is the laws of God and nature.  For government is an ordinance of Heaven, designed by the all benevolent Creator.”

Writings in the Boston Gazette, December 19, 1768.

“Religion and good morals are the only solid foundations of public liberty and happiness.”

Writings to James Warren, October 16, 1778.

“May every citizen in the army and in the country have a proper sense of the Diety upon his mind and an impression of the declaration recorded in the Bible, ‘Him that honoreth me I will honor, but he that despiseth me shall be lightly esteemed.’”

Writings in the Boston Gazette, June 12, 1780.

“Let each citizen remember at the moment he is offering his vote that he is not making a present or a compliment to please an individual – or at least that he ought not so to do; but rather he is executing one of the most solemn trusts in human society for which he is accountable to God and his country.”

Writings in the Boston Gazette, April 16, 1781.


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