Episode 350: Stacy Schiff, The Revolutionary: Samuel Adams

Before the American Revolution became a war and a fight for independence, the Revolution was a movement and protest for more local control of government. So how did the American Revolution get started? Who worked to transform a series of protests into a revolution?

This is a BIG question with no one answer. But one American who worked to transform protests into a coordinated revolutionary movement was a Boston politician named Samuel Adams.

Stacy Schiff, a Pulitzer Prize-winning author, joins us to explore and investigate the life, deeds, and contributions of Samuel Adams using details from her book, The Revolutionary: Samuel Adams.

About the Show

Ben Franklin’s World is a podcast about early American history.
It is a show for people who love history and for those who want to know more about the historical people and events that have impacted and shaped our present-day world.

Ben Franklin’s World is a production of Colonial Williamsburg Innovation Studios.

Episode Summary

Stacy Schiff joins us to investigate the life and deeds of Samuel Adams using details from her new book, The Revolutionary: Samuel Adams. Schiff is a multiple-award and Pulitzer Prize-winning author who has written six books.

During our investigation of Adams, Stacy reveals what we know about Samuel Adams’s life and education; How Adams made politics his career and his successes and failures in politics; And some of the work Adams did to transform protests and debates over imperial taxation into a revolution for social and political change.

What You’ll Discover

  • Why write a biography about Samuel Adams
  • How people referred to Samuel Adams
  • Samuel Adams’s childhood and early life
  • Adams’s social network
  • Adams’s ideas about politics and his classical education
  • Adams’s relationship with his first wife, Elizabeth Checkley
  • Samuel Adams’s early jobs and careers
  • Adams Family Wealth
  • The Massachusetts Land Bank Crisis of 1741
  • Religion in Samuel Adams’s life
  • Adams’s interest in politics
  • Samuel Adams, Boston Market Clerk
  • Samuel Adams, Boston Tax Collector
  • Samuel Adams, the Revolutionary
  • James Otis’s influence on Samuel Adams
  • Samuel Adams becomes a leader in the American Revolution
  • How Adams shaped the Boston Massacre into a massacre
  • Thomas Hutchinson and Samuel Adams
  • Samuel Adams and Boston revolutionary mobs
  • Adams’s leadership as the Revolution turns into a war
  • Samuel Adams, Continental Congressman
  • Samuel Adams, Lieutenant Governor and Governor of Massachusetts

Links to People, Places, and Publications

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Complementary Episodes

Time Warp PlainTime Warp Question

In your opinion, what might have happened if Samuel Adams had chosen to remain loyal to the British Crown and Empire? How might the course of the American Revolution have been different if Adams had been a loyalist?

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