Samuel Adams: The Life of an American Revolutionary

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Overview

Samuel Adams: The Life of an American Revolutionary vividly tells the story of a titan of America's greatest generation. Friend and foe alike considered Adams one of the greatest members of the generation that achieved American independence and crafted constitutions that made the ideal of republican government a living reality in the new nation. Adams's role as a major political author and organizer are explored as is his central role in momentous events including the Boston Massacre and the Boston Tea Party. The...
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Samuel Adams: The Life of an American Revolutionary

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Overview

Samuel Adams: The Life of an American Revolutionary vividly tells the story of a titan of America's greatest generation. Friend and foe alike considered Adams one of the greatest members of the generation that achieved American independence and crafted constitutions that made the ideal of republican government a living reality in the new nation. Adams's role as a major political author and organizer are explored as is his central role in momentous events including the Boston Massacre and the Boston Tea Party. The work demonstrates why Thomas Jefferson described Adams as the helmsman of the American Revolution. Adams's career during the war and his involvement in crafting and defending republican constitutions are assessed as are his views on virtue, religion, education, women, and slavery. Following Adams through the 1790s, one sees that he wanted the revolutionary generation to bequeath a land of liberty and equality to the nation's posterity. The personal side of this revolutionary who was renowned for his lack of concern for material things is not neglected. The symbiotic relationship of Samuel and his wife Elizabeth is analyzed. The work demonstrates that Adams's life provides a veritable guide to responsible citizenship and public service in a republic.
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Editorial Reviews

CHOICE
Students, scholars, and general readers will welcome this important new study of Samuel Adams. Indeed, this is the best biography yet of the man Jefferson called "the helmsman of the American Revolution." Alexander's extensive research supports his view that Adams, "more than anybody, consistently and ardently worked to convince Americans of the need for independence" and kept the revolutionary movement alive during the critical early 1770s. Alexander (Univ. of Cincinnati) considers Adams the US's first "modern politician" in that he made politics his lifelong occupation, grasped the political power of the media, and linked the towns of Massachusetts through committees of correspondence that ultimately became an effective intercolonial communications network. Adams has been eclipsed in US public memory by more famous founding fathers; many remember him now primarily as the fellow who brewed beer. But Alexander makes the case that Adams was one of the most significant of the country's founders and did as much as anyone to build an American republic dedicated to liberty and equality. This well-written book includes 51 pages of notes and an excellent 19-page bibliography to guide further study. Highly recommended. All university and major public libraries.
Booklist
Even for supposedly objective historians, it has often been difficult to remain neutral about Sam Adams. He was an inspiring orator or a demagogue inflaming the mob. He was a brilliant organizer or an unprincipled manipulator. Alexander gratifyingly avoids the pitfalls of easy categorization. Still, in a generally admiring biography, he convincingly asserts two consistent aspects of Adams’ career. First, he was a political animal, who felt most alive when organizing, negotiating, and when necessary, compromising to achieve his goals. Second, he was a true revolutionary, who viewed the arena of politics as a means for transforming American society in accordance with republican principles. His hopes extended beyond simple independence from Britain. Within those parameters, Alexander examines Adams’ activities during and after the revolution as he dealt with a variety of issues, including slavery, the rights of women, and foreign affairs. Alexander also makes clear that Adams was no austere, cold Robespierre but a man with a vibrant personal life. A well-done re-examination of the life of an American icon.
American History
Extremely thorough.
Choice
Students, scholars, and general readers will welcome this important new study of Samuel Adams. Indeed, this is the best biography yet of the man Jefferson called "the helmsman of the American Revolution." Alexander's extensive research supports his view that Adams, "more than anybody, consistently and ardently worked to convince Americans of the need for independence" and kept the revolutionary movement alive during the critical early 1770s. Alexander (Univ. of Cincinnati) considers Adams the US's first "modern politician" in that he made politics his lifelong occupation, grasped the political power of the media, and linked the towns of Massachusetts through committees of correspondence that ultimately became an effective intercolonial communications network. Adams has been eclipsed in US public memory by more famous founding fathers; many remember him now primarily as the fellow who brewed beer. But Alexander makes the case that Adams was one of the most significant of the country's founders and did as much as anyone to build an American republic dedicated to liberty and equality. This well-written book includes 51 pages of notes and an excellent 19-page bibliography to guide further study. Highly recommended. All university and major public libraries.
John Ferling
Samuel Adams is the most elusive of the Founding Fathers and, until now, the only one without a first-rate biography. Historian John Alexander, a careful author and meticulous scholar, has solved the matter of a decent life history. In this definitive biography, Alexander not only shows what made Adams tick, but fleshes out his contributions to the American Revolution. Samuel Adams: The Life of an American Revolutionary is the book for those who wish to understand both this extraordinary American Founder and the shadowy contours of the American Revolution.
Barbara Clark Smith
John Alexander makes the case undeniable: No individual was more central than Samuel Adams to the coming of the Revolution and the effort to sustain republican society and government once independence had been achieved. Engagingly written, Samuel Adams offers a thorough and page-turning account of Adams's life and his remarkable times.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780742570337
  • Publisher: Rowman & Littlefield Publishers, Inc.
  • Publication date: 5/16/2011
  • Pages: 432
  • Sales rank: 1,446,394
  • Product dimensions: 6.30 (w) x 9.10 (h) x 1.40 (d)

Meet the Author

John K. Alexander is Professor of History and Distinguished Teaching Professor (Emeritus) at the University of Cincinnati. An associate editor of American National Biography (1999), he is also the author of Render Them Submissive: Responses to Poverty in Philadelphia, 1760-1800 (1980), The Selling of the Constitutional Convention of 1787: A History of News Coverage (1990), and Samuel Adams: America’s Revolutionary Politician (2002).
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Table of Contents

Preface ix

1 The Failure of Promise 1

2 The People Shall Be Heard 25

3 The Lurking Serpent 53

4 The Politics of Principle 83

5 The Great Incendiary Confronts the Quiet Period 119

6 Britain Miscalculates and the Great Incendiary Strikes 155

7 The Helmsman of American Independence 183

8 "Zealous in the Great Cause": Winning Independence 209

9 "The Principles of Liberty": The Massachusetts Scene 237

10 "An Idolater of Republicanism" and the Nation's Constitution 267

11 "The Consistent Republican" in the Turbulent 1790s 289

Epilogue: "The Patriarch of Liberty" 317

Abbreviations and Short Titles 325

Notes 329

Bibliography 381

Index 401

About the Author 419

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Sort by: Showing 1 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted October 12, 2012

    Excellent

    This book is packed with information. Unfortunately, I can't just sit down and read it through, so I'm still reading it, but can go ahead a rate it as excellent.

    Liz100

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