Happy Birthday, Sam Adams!
By 1764-65 he was a leader in Boston's town meetings, drafting protests against the Stamp Act that protested British efforts to tax the colonists and called for a spirited defense of Americans' "invalueable Rights & Libertys." Over the next decade he became an increasingly dominant leader of the town meeting. He repeatedly insisted on the "inherent and unalienable rights" of the people (Writings, vol. 1, pp. 25-26), a theme that became a core element of republicanism.
Samuel Adams is perhaps best remembered for helping him to organize, with William Molineux, the Boston Tea Party of December 16, 1773, in response to the Tea Act. As British tea-ships sat in Boston Harbor awaiting payment of the import duties, Adams energized a large crowd that was gathered at the port with his oratory, and sent several men - all were aprentices except for Paul Revere - to dump all of the tea from the three ships into the Boston Harbor (none of the Patriots participated [including Adams] except for Paul Revere), to the delight of the assembled spectators on shore.
It's a shame today's like-minded Bostonians can be counted on but one hand.
And, one of my all-time favorite quotes:
"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; May your chains set lightly upon you, and may posterity forget that ye were our countrymen."
- Philadelphia, August 1, 1776.
Additionally, Adams was a member of the conventions that drafted the first Massachusetts state constitution in 1779, and the second one in 1788.
File this one under "That flushing sound you're hearing..."
CONSTITUTION OF THE COMMONWEALTH OF MASSACHUSETTS
Article I. All men are born free and equal, and have certain natural, essential, and unalienable rights; among which may be reckoned the right of enjoying and defending their lives and liberties; that of acquiring, possessing, and protecting property; in fine, that of seeking and obtaining their safety and happiness.
Defending your life? Not in Sam Adams' birthplace, you heathen! The inalienable rights of muggers, drug dealers, and rapists have been given priority by our courageous, "progressive" leadership. Sorry.
So, anyway, now you know what to drink tonight.
Oh, I also share a birthday with Meatloaf and Avril Lavigne.
UPDATE: I wanted to get this one in before the stroke of midnight.
Happy birthday, John Michael Paveskovich!