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Samuel Adams Quotes

These Samuel Adams Quotes are taken from his own letters and writings from the years 1748-1775. This period covers the turbulent years leading up to and the outbreak of the Revolutionary War. Samuel Adams was a patriot leader from Boston who was intricately involved in the events leading up to the war and in the Congress that led the nation to independence. Many of these Samuel Adams Quotes are taken from his work entitled The Rights of the Colonists, which was published on November 20, 1772. This work expresses the ideas that human rights are given by God and it is the government's duty to protect them. Our Samuel Adams Quotes are listed chronologically with links to more after this time period at the bottom.


Samuel Adams
Samuel Adams


Samuel Adams Quotes

"It is a very great mistake to imagine that the object of loyalty is the authority and interest of one individual man, however dignified by the applause or enriched by the success of popular actions." - Loyalty and Sedition, essay in The Advertiser, 1748

"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. We must not conclude merely upon a man's haranguing upon liberty, and using the charming sound, that he is fit to be trusted with the liberties of his country. It is not unfrequent to hear men declaim loudly upon liberty, who, if we may judge by the whole tenor of their actions, mean nothing else by it but their own liberty, - to oppress without control or the restraint of laws all who are poorer or weaker than themselves. It is not, I say, unfrequent to see such instances, though at the same time I esteem it a justice due to my country to say that it is not without shining examples of the contrary kind; - examples of men of a distinguished attachment to this same liberty I have been describing; whom no hopes could draw, no terrors could drive, from steadily pursuing, in their sphere, the true interests of their country; whose fidelity has been tried in the nicest and tenderest manner, and has been ever firm and unshaken. The sum of all is, if we would most truly enjoy this gift of Heaven, let us become a virtuous people." - Loyalty and Sedition, essay in The Advertiser, 1748

Neither the wisest constitution nor the wisest laws will secure the liberty and happiness of a people whose manners are universally corrupt." - Essay in the Public Advertiser, 1749

"If you, or Colonel Dalrymple under you, have the power to remove one regiment you have the power to remove both. It is at your peril if you refuse. The meeting is composed of three thousand people. They have become impatient. A thousand men are already arrived from the neighborhood, and the whole country is in motion. Night is approaching. An immediate answer is expected. Both regiments or none!" - Address to Acting Governor Thomas Hutchinson, the day after the Boston Massacre, March 6, 1770

"The truth is, all might be free if they valued freedom, and defended it as they ought." - Essay in the Boston Gazette, October 14, 1771

"The liberties of our Country, the freedom of our civil constitution are worth defending at all hazards: And it is our duty to defend them against all attacks. We have receiv'd them as a fair Inheritance from our worthy Ancestors: They purchas'd them for us with toil and danger and expence of treasure and blood; and transmitted them to us with care and diligence. It will bring an everlasting mark of infamy on the present generation, enlightened as it is, if we should suffer them to be wrested from us by violence without a struggle; or be cheated out of them by the artifices of false and designing men. Of the latter we are in most danger at present: Let us therefore be aware of it. Let us contemplate our forefathers and posterity; and resolve to maintain the rights bequeath'd to us from the former, for the sake of the latter. - Instead of sitting down satisfied with the efforts we have already made, which is the wish of our enemies, the necessity of the times, more than ever, calls for our utmost circumspection, deliberation, fortitude, and perseverance. Let us remember that "if we suffer tamely a lawless attack upon our liberty, we encourage it, and involve others in our doom." It is a very serious consideration, which should deeply impress our minds, that millions yet unborn may be the miserable sharers of the event." - Essay in the Boston Gazette, October 14, 1771

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"When designs are form'd to raze the very foundation of a free government, whose few who are to erect their grandeur and fortunes upon the general ruin, will employ every art to sooth the devoted people into a state of indolence, inattention and security, which is forever the fore-runner of slavery." - Article signed "Candidus," in Boston Gazette, December 9, 1771

"If the public are bound to yield obedience to laws to which they cannot give their approbation, they are slaves to those who make such laws and enforce them." - As Candidus in the Boston Gazette, January 20, 1772

Samuel Adams Statue - Faneuil Hall
Samuel Adams Statue
Faneuil Hall - Boston
"Among the natural rights of the Colonists are these: First, a right to life; Secondly, to liberty; Thirdly, to property; together with the right to support and defend them in the best manner they can. These are evident branches of, rather than deductions from, the duty of self-preservation, commonly called the first law of nature." - The Rights of the Colonists, November 20, 1772

"All men have a right to remain in a state of nature as long as they please; and in case of intolerable oppression, civil or religious, to leave the society they belong to, and enter into another." - The Rights of the Colonists, November 20, 1772

"The right to freedom being the gift of God Almighty, it is not in the power of man to alienate this gift and voluntarily become a slave... These may be best understood by reading and carefully studying the institutes of the great Law Giver and Head of the Christian Church, which are to be found clearly written and promulgated in the New Testament." - The Rights of the Colonists, November 20, 1772

"In regard to religion, mutual toleration in the different professions thereof is what all good and candid minds in all ages have ever practised, and, both by precept and example, inculcated on mankind." - The Rights of the Colonists, November 20, 1772

Read on for more great
Samuel Adams Quotes


"The natural liberty of man is to be free from any superior power on Earth, and not to be under the will or legislative authority of man, but only to have the law of nature for his rule." - The Rights of the Colonists, November 20, 1772

"It is the greatest absurdity to suppose it in the power of one, or any number of men, at the entering into society, to renounce their essential natural rights, or the means of preserving those rights; when the grand end of civil government, from the very nature of its institution, is for the support, protection, and defence of those very rights; the principal of which, as is before observed, are Life, Liberty, and Property. If men, through fear, fraud, or mistake, should in terms renounce or give up any essential natural right, the eternal law of reason and the grand end of society would absolutely vacate such renunciation. The right to freedom being the gift of God Almighty, it is not in the power of man to alienate this gift and voluntarily become a slave." - The Rights of the Colonists, November 20, 1772

"The Opinion of others I very little regard, & have a thorough Contempt for all men, be their Names Characters & Stations what they may, who appear to be the irreclaimable Enemies of Religion & Liberty." - Letter to William Checkley, December 14, 1772

"Christian men, who had come together for solemn deliberation in the hour of their extremity, to say there was so wide a difference in their religious belief that they could not, as one man, bow the knee in prayer to the Almighty, whose advice and assistance they hoped to obtain." - Proposal to open Continental Congress with prayer, September 6, 1774

"What a glorious morning this is!" - Comment to John Hancock at the Battle of Lexington, April 19, 1775

"He who is void of virtuous Attachments in private Life, is, or very soon will be void of all Regard for 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." - Letter to James Warren, November 4, 1775

"Since private and publick Vices, are in Reality, though not always apparently, so nearly connected, of how much Importance, how necessary is it, that the utmost Pains be taken by the Publick, to have the Principles of Virtue early inculcated on the Minds even of children, and the moral Sense kept alive, and that the wise institutions of our Ancestors for these great Purposes be encouraged by the Government. For no people will tamely surrender their Liberties, nor can any be easily subdued, when knowledge is diffusd and Virtue is preservd. On the Contrary, when People are universally ignorant, and debauchd in their Manners, they will sink under their own weight without the Aid of foreign Invaders." - Letter to James Warren, November 4, 1775

"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 character of public men." - Letter to James Warren, November 4, 1775

StarIf you liked our Samuel Adams Quotes, you can learn more about Samuel Adams at our Samuel Adams Facts page. You can also read Samuel Adams' complete work The Rights of the Colonists here.

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