Johnny Tremain

What did Sam Adams mean when he said "without you printers, the cause of liberty would be lost forever?"

chapter 6

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"Ah, Mr. Lorne, ... without you printers the cause of liberty would be lost forever."

Sam Adams, Page 115

Sam Adams's gratitude to Uncle Lorne illustrates the important role that pamphlets, newspapers, and other printed material played in the American Revolution. Although many women (like Mrs. Lapham and her daughters) could not read, 70-100% of adult men could. Whig newspapers and pamphlets like Thomas Paine's Common Sense were very effective at spreading discontent against the monarchy. This was partly due to Britain's decision to increase freedom of the press in its colonies. Although printers like Uncle Lorne still faced some restrictions and would have been arrested for helping someone like Sam Adams, they were easily able to get the ink, paper, and machinery to print rebel publications.