Thursday, September 27, 2007

Happy Birthday, Sam Adams!

No - not the beer! The founding father.

Although, you may be interested to know that he was a brewer, just not a very good one ... he actually struggled as a businessman and showed little interest in managing the brewery he inherited upon his father’s death. He was so bad at the brewery business, in fact, that he went bankrupt by 1760.

But he is well known for his political career. He was one of Massachusetts' representatives to the First and Second Continental Congresses and was a signer to the Constitution. He played a prominent role in the Boston Tea Party, even though he had, himself, been a tax collector. (He lost that job because he wasn't very good at actually collecting the taxes due.) He was Governor of Massachusetts from 1793 to 1797.

Some quotes for which he is known:

Among the natural rights of the colonists are these: First a right to life, secondly to liberty, and thirdly to property; together with the right to defend them in the best manner they can.

How strangely will the Tools of a Tyrant pervert the plain Meaning of Words!

If ye love wealth greater than liberty, the tranquility of servitude greater than the animating contest for freedom, go home from us in peace. We seek not your counsel, nor your arms. Crouch down and lick the hand that feeds you; and may posterity forget that ye were our 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.

The Constitution shall never be construed... to prevent the people of the United States who are peaceable citizens from keeping their own arms.

The liberties of our country, the freedom of our civil constitution, are worth defending against all hazards: And it is our duty to defend them against all attacks.

And my favorite, which I kept on my desk during my political career:

It does not require a majority to prevail, but rather an irate, tireless minority keen to set brush fires in people's minds.

Happy Birthday, Sam!


Tim Higgins said...

Great information and quotes Maggie. I still carry a quote on my desk, though it is of anonymous origin:

"Having abandoned my search for truth, I am looking for a good fantasy."

Maggie Thurber said...

That's great, Tim! There are days when such a quote seems rather appropriate!

Roo said...

Ahhh - Good ol' Sam Adams. Ya gotta love those Yanks!

What do you suppose would happen if all of todays politicians actually went back to the basic principles of the founding fathers?

Maggie Thurber said...

Great question, Roo...and an interesting question, especially considering that most people, politicians included, don't understand those founding principles...

Tim Higgins said...

I agree that it's a great question roo, and I think that I have part of the answer. Membership in both of the current major political parties would fall off shockingly.

Politicians who espoused those principles would find the level of taxation and the size of government today absolutely apalling.

Do you know how to say "Libertarian"?

kateb said...

Ah Roo - the tax paying public doesn't really understand the founding principals either - or else we would be tossing items into every harbor in the country :-)

Mark W Adams said...

Great Minds think alike. That, or we both listen to the Writer's Almanac in the morning.

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