Happy birthday Samuel Adams, Bostonian firebrand of the patriot resistance against Britain!

In 1772, he drafted “The Rights of the Colonists,” a succinct defense of individual rights on the basis of natural rights. Adams was instrumental in using this doctrine as a basis to fight against the Stamp Act, Declaratory Act, and Townshend Acts. “Every natural right not expressly given up, or, from the nature of a social compact, necessarily ceded, remains,” he insisted.

As he saw it, freedom was the gift of one’s creator, and “it is not in the power of man to alienate this gift and voluntarily become a slave.”

Holding to this, he reiterated the same after the Intolerable Acts shut down Boston’s Port, replaced its locally-elected legislative assembly with one chosen by the crown, and demanded repayment for the tea destroyed in the Boston Tea Party.

Instead, he organized an effort to boycott any local establishment that sought to repay the British East India Company, which had been granted a state monopoly on tea.

Dave Benner

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