A Man of the People in the Cause of Freedom
Long before he was the face of a popular American beer, Samuel Adams was a leading star in the cause of freedom. In fact, though the family business did supply local breweries with malted barley, the drink with which Sam Adams was associated in the 1770s, was tea. The Boston Tea Party was just one of several moments that positioned Adams as one of the earliest and most powerful voices sounding the alarm in Boston against British tyranny. On April 18th, 1775 British General Thomas Gage dispatched a unit of Red Coats to Concord, Massachusetts. Numerous accounts reflect that one of Gage’s goals was the capture and arrest of the firebrand Sam Adams and his friend, John Hancock. Amazingly, this British engagement is what prompted Paul Revere’s famous ride and led to the opening skirmishes at Lexington and Concord. As word spread of Adams’ role as a target of Gage, so too did his popularity among the people. As a delegate to the 2nd Continental Congress, he took his advocacy to Philadelphia and prevailed. So impactful was his presence in the room, Thomas Jefferson would be quoted as saying, “If there was any Palinurus to the Revolution, Samuel Adams was the man.” And on the 4th of July, 1776 Adams joined his fellow patriots in putting pen to parchment in the Declaration of Independence from Great Britain. But, Adams’ work wasn’t done. One might argue that his greatest contributions to the revolutionary cause of freedom were still to come. You see, in order for liberty’s cause to succeed, it couldn’t have merely been the vision of delegates and statesmen. It needed to be the people’s vision…the people’s cause. The war needed to be seen as of the people, by the people, and for the people. Without the spirit, grit, and determination of the common man, the fight for freedom would surely have failed. Samuel Adams was a man of the people and a voice that inspired a nation. One month after the Declaration was signed, Adams stood on the steps of the State House in Philadelphia (later Independence Hall) to deliver one of his many messages to the people. He sought to remind them that they were no less precious to God than the British king. “Were the talents and virtues which Heaven has bestowed upon men given merely to make them more obedient drudges, to be sacrificed to the follies and ambitions of the few? … What an affront to the King of the universe, to maintain that the happiness of a monster sunk in debauchery and spreading desolation and murder among men, of a Caligula, a Nero, or a Charles [King Charles I of England], is more precious in His sight than that of millions of His supplicant creatures, who do justice, love mercy, and walk humbly with their God [Micah 6:8]! No! In the judgment of Heaven, there is no other superiority among men than a superiority in wisdom and virtue. And can we have a safer model in forming ours? The Deity, then, has not given any order or family of men authority over others, and if any men have given it, they only could give it for themselves.” Speeches like these from Adams and others galvanized the people’s faith in the biblical truth that individuals are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights. The people would fight against the chains of tyranny and by God’s grace, they would win. I speak to you today just steps away from Independence Hall and the very steps where Samuel Adams stood 245 years ago to deliver his message of freedom. It’s the 4th of July and the buzz of patriotism still fills the air. Moreover, gratitude still fills my heart for the freedom we continue to enjoy thanks in part to men like Samuel Adams, whose faith guided liberty toward justice.Faith and Liberty Rediscovered features conversations that investigate the people behind historically significant events in American history while also exploring the direct connection between faith and liberty in America from its founding to today. All from the Faith and Liberty Discovery Center which is located in the heart of our nation’s birthplace: On Independence Mall in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Together, We’ll bring history to life in a fun and accessible way by leveraging relevant segments, guests, and exploring topics that allow us to discover our Nation’s history in a fresh and new format. Be sure to subscribe in the podcast platform of your choice.