Samuel Adams: America's Revolutionary Politician offers a fresh full-life biography of the man Thomas Jefferson once described as the helmsman of the American Revolution. In his study, historian John K. Alexander uses narrative history to argue that Samuel Adams was both America's first professional politician and its first modern politician. Adams, Alexander argues, was an unwavering politician who strove to protect the people's basic rights and who emphasized the importance of virtue, liberty, a sense of duty, and education in fashioning a republican society. John K. Alexander's fresh reading of Adams's record, and a uniquely close look into his personal life, uncovers a masterful politician and a man consistent in his beliefs.
This is a deep, solid, well researched, and highly readable work of history. I am particularly impressed by Alexander's contribution to the history of the Boston 'mob' in the American Revolution. Criticizing the 'myopic' views of those at the time (as well as more recent scholars) who saw the crowd as manipulated and propagandized by Adams, he gives due credit to Adams's role while nonetheless presenting us with a crowd with agency and a mind of its own.
Richard E. Ellis
John K. Alexander has written an intelligent, thoughtful, and concise biography of one of the most important leaders of the revolutionary generation.
Pennsylvania Magazine of History and Biography
It is chock full of original research and fresh observations on moments in Massachusetts's revolutionary struggle.
A sparkling biography of a street-level politician who battled in the trenches for the American Revolution.
Alexander (history, U. of Cincinnati) narrates the life of American Revolutionary leader and later Governor of Massachusetts Samuel Adams (1722-1803). Besides the usual conclusions that Adams was a skillful politician who helped bring ordinary people into the political process, the biography examines Adam's contribution to the changing role of women by opening up educational opportunities and his attempts to build a "virtuous society" by protecting constitutional liberties. Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)
John K. Alexander is professor at the University of Cincinnati where he specializes in American revolutionary era history. Along with a number of scholarly articles, he has authored Render Them Submissive: Responses to Poverty in Philadelphia, 1760–1800.
Chapter 1: The Failure of Promise
Chapter 2: The People Shall Be Heard
Chapter 3: The Lurking Serpent
Chapter 4: The Politics of Principle
Chapter 5: The Chief Incendiary
Chapter 6: The Helmsman of American Independence
Chapter 7: "Zealous in the Great Cause": Winning Independence
Chapter 8: "The Principles of Liberty": The Massachusetts Scene
Chapter 9: “The Consistent Republican”
Epilogue: “The Patriarch of Liberty”