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A Book Review of Samuel Adams Radical PuritanHistorians such as Drew McCoy and Joseph Ellis have produced noteworthy studies of the Founders and their impact on the time period of the American Revolution Fowlers supplement to this blossoming literature is in many ways a traditional biography It investigates Samuel Adamss life as it unfolded and pays less attention to the larger conceptual issues that commanded the age No reader can escape this brief biography without a sense of the personal loss that Samuel Adams felt when he witnessed the death of many of his children and his wife Delivering five children three deaths among them took a heavy toll on ElizabethElizabeth died on 25 July 37 Nor will an attentive reader assume that political events unfolded according to some foreseen path Fowlers achievement here is to bring the reader into the loll of Boston politics the arena of much of Adamss life His representation of Adamss Harvard his outline of the careers and reputations of other notable figures - such as John Hancock and John Adams - and his depiction of Adamss disenchantment with the rise of the Federalists in the 1790s - which included the election in 1796 of his cousin John to the Presidency - have particular distinctness But this book is designed to be more than an abstract biography Fowler disputes that Adams was in many ways the revolutionary leader most impressed with upholding the mission of the Puritan founders of the Bay colony It would be difficult to find among Adamss contemporaries any who matched him in his selfless devotion to public service Fowler writes 77 During his discussion of the non importation movement Fowler emphasizes that the staunch Puritan Adams urged repeatedly that luxuries and superfluities be eschewed 94The difficulty here is that historians remain divided on what the term Puritan meant in the eighteenth century Although Fowler briefly traces the objectives of early seventeenth-century Puritan leaders he spends inadequate
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