Thomas Jefferson asserted that if there was any leader of the American Revolution, “Samuel Adams was the man.” John Adams believed its true history could not be written without him. With high-minded ideals and bare-knuckle tactics, Adams led what could be called the greatest campaign of civil resistance in American history.
A singular figure at a singular moment, Adams packaged and amplified the Boston Massacre. He helped mastermind the Boston Tea Party. Shrewd, eloquent, and intensely disciplined, he supplied the moral backbone of the contest with Great Britain. He employed every tool in an innovative arsenal to rally a town, a colony, and eventually a band of colonies behind him, creating the cause that created a country. For his efforts, he became the most wanted man in America: When Paul Revere rode to Lexington in 1775, it was to warn Samuel Adams that he was about to face arrest for treason.
Stacy Schiff is the Pulitzer Prize-winning author of, among books, A Great Improvisation: Franklin, France, and the Birth of America, Cleopatra: A Life, and The Witches: Salem, 1692. A recipient of various awards, including an NEH grant and a Guggenheim Fellowship, she is a member of the American Academy of Arts and Letters.