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Samuel Adams Quotes

Our Samuel Adams Quotes come from his own letters and speeches and are listed in chronological order. The quotes listed on this page are from the years 1775-1780, which was the height of the Revolutionary War. Sam Adams was one of the leading voices in the early part of the American Revolution. He was elected to the Continental Congress and became the second governor of Massachusetts. Many of these Samuel Adams Quotes come from a speech he gave at the State House in Philadelphia on August 1, 1776, roughly one month after the Declaration of Independence. In the speech, he encourages Americans to fight for their right to be free and to form independent states from Great Britain. Many of these quotes also champion the idea that public freedom is a product of personal virtue and morality. These Samuel Adams Quotes are listed chronologically with links to more before and after this period at the bottom of the page.


Samuel Adams
Samuel Adams


Samuel Adams Quotes

"No people will tamely surrender their Liberties, nor can any be easily subdued, when knowledge is diffused and Virtue is preserved. On the Contrary, when People are universally ignorant, and debauched in their Manners, they will sink under their own weight without the Aid of foreign Invaders." - Letter to James Warren, November 4, 1775

"How strangely will the Tools of a Tyrant pervert the plain Meaning of Words!" - Letter to John Pitts, January 21, 1776

"Our unalterable resolution would be to be free. They have attempted to subdue us by force, but God be praised! in vain. Their arts may be more dangerous then their arms. Let us then renounce all treaty with them upon any score but that of total separation, and under God trust our cause to our swords." - Letter to James Warren, April 16, 1776

"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 general Character. The diminution of publick Virtue is usually attended with that of publick Happiness, and the publick Liberty will not long survive the total Extinction of Morals." - Letter to John Scollay, April 30, 1776

"We cannot make Events. Our Business is wisely to improve them. There has been much to do to confirm doubting Friends & fortify the Timid. It requires time to bring honest Men to think & determine alike even in important Matters. Mankind are governed more by their feelings than by reason." - Letter to Samuel Cooper, April 30, 1776

"We have this day restored the Sovereign to whom alone men ought to be obedient. He reigns in Heaven, and with a propitious eye beholds his subjects assuming that freedom of thought and dignity of self-direction which He bestowed on them. From the rising to the setting sun, may His kingdom come!" - After signing the Declaration of Independence, July 4, 1776

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Samuel Adams Quotes

"He who made all men hath made the truths necessary to human happiness obvious to all. Our forefathers threw off the yoke of Popery in religion; for you is reserved the honor of leveling the popery of politics. They opened the Bible to all, and maintained the capacity of every man to judge for himself in religion." - Speech at the State House, Philadelphia, August 1, 1776

"Were the talents and virtues which heaven has bestowed on men given merely to make them more obedient drudges, to be sacrificed to the follies and ambition of a few? Or, were not the noble gifts so equally dispensed with a divine purpose and law, that they should as nearly as possible be equally exerted, and the blessings of Providence be equally enjoyed by all?" - Speech at the State House, Philadelphia, August 1, 1776

"Men who content themselves with the semblance of truth, and a display of words, talk much of our obligations to Great Britain for protection. Had she a single eye to our advantage? A nation of shopkeepers are very seldom so disinterested." - Speech at the State House, Philadelphia, August 1, 1776

"Did the protection we received annul our rights as men, and lay us under an obligation of being miserable? Who among you, my countrymen, that is a father, would claim authority to make your child a slave because you had nourished him in infancy? 'Tis a strange species of generosity which requires a return infinitely more valuable than anything it could have bestowed; that demands as a reward for a defense of our property a surrender of those inestimable privileges, to the arbitrary will of vindictive tyrants, which alone give value to that very property." - Speech at the State House, Philadelphia, August 1, 1776

"Courage, then, my countrymen, our contest is not only whether we ourselves shall be free, but whether there shall be left to mankind an asylum on earth for civil and religious liberty." - Speech at the State House, Philadelphia, August 1, 1776

"Contemplate the mangled bodies of your countrymen, and then say 'what should be the reward of such sacrifices?' Bid us and our posterity bow the knee, supplicate the friendship and plough, and sow, and reap, to glut the avarice of the men who have let loose on us the dogs of war to riot in our blood and hunt us from the face of the earth? If ye love wealth better than liberty, the tranquility of servitude than the animated contest of freedom - go home from us in peace. We ask not your counsels or arms. Crouch down and lick the hands which feed you. May your chains sit lightly upon you, and may posterity forget that you were our countrymen!" - Speech at the State House, Philadelphia, August 1, 1776

Need some more Samuel Adams Quotes?
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Samuel Adams Statue - Faneuil Hall
Samuel Adams Statue
Faneuil Hall - Boston
"If ye love wealth better than liberty, the tranquility of servitude better than the animating contest of freedom, go home from us in peace. We ask not your counsels or arms. Crouch down and lick the hands which feed you. May your chains set lightly upon you, and may posterity forget that ye were our countrymen." - Speech at the Philadelphia State House, August 1, 1776

"Freedom of thought and the right of private judgment, in matters of conscience, driven from every other corner of the earth, direct their course to this happy country as their last asylum." - Speech at the State House, Philadelphia, August 1, 1776

"There is One above us who will take exemplary vengeance for every insult upon His majesty. You know that the cause of America is just. You know that she contends for that freedom to which all men are entitled - that she contends against oppression, rapine, and more than savage barbarity. The blood of the innocent is upon your hands, and all the waters of the ocean will not wash it away. We again make our solemn appeal to the God of heaven to decide between you and us. And we pray that, in the doubtful scale of battle, we may be successful as we have justice on our side, and that the merciful Savior of the world may forgive our oppressors." - Letter to the Earl of Carlisle and Others, July 16, 1778

"Religion and good morals are the only solid foundation of public liberty and happiness." - Letter to John Trumbull, October 16, 1778

"We, therefore, the Congress of the United States of America, do solemnly declare and proclaim that... We appeal to the God who searcheth the hearts of men for the rectitude of our intentions; and in His holy presence declare that, as we are not moved by any light or hasty suggestions of anger or revenge, so through every possible change of fortune we will adhere to this our determination." - Manifesto of the Continental Congress, October 30, 1778

"A general Dissolution of Principles & 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 once they lose their Virtue they will be ready to surrender their Liberties to the first external or internal Invader. How necessary then is it for those who are determin'd to transmit the Blessings of Liberty as a fair Inheritance to Posterity, to associate on publick Principles in Support of publick Virtue." - Letter to James Warren, February 12, 1779

"If virtue and knowledge are diffused among the people, they will never be enslaved. This will be their great security." - Letter to James Warren, February 12, 1779

"If ever the Time should come, when vain & aspiring Men shall possess the highest Seats in Government, our Country will stand in Need of its experienced Patriots to prevent its Ruin." - Letter to James Warren, October 24, 1780

StarIf you liked our Samuel Adams Quotes, you can learn more about Samuel Adams at our Samuel Adams Facts page.

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