A plaque remaining from the Big Apple Night Club at West 135th Street and Seventh Avenue in Harlem.

Above, a 1934 plaque from the Big Apple Night Club at West 135th Street and Seventh Avenue in Harlem. Discarded as trash in 2006.

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“Happiness is having a rare steak, a bottle of whisky—and a dog to eat the rare steak” (3/27)
“What whiskey will not cure, there is no cure for” (3/27)
“Good girls are made of sugar and spice. Country girls are made of whiskey on ice” (3/27)
“This whiskey tastes like I’m about to tell you how I really feel” (3/27)
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Entry from December 02, 2009
“It does not require a majority to prevail, but rather an irate, tireless minority”

"It does not require a majority to prevail, but rather an irate, tireless minority keen to set brush fires in people’s minds” is a quotation falsely attributed to Samuel Adams (1722-1803). Adams would not have used the word “irate” in this time period (American revoultion, 1770s). Boston was plagued by fires; Adams would not have been encouraging “brush fires” in the mind. The “brush fire” metaphor came into popular use in the 20th century.

The quotation appears to date from a 1987 article about Samuel Adams in Parade Magazine.


Wikiquote: Samuel Adams
Samuel Adams (27 September 1722 – 2 October 1803) was an American revolutionary and organizer of the Boston Tea Party. He was governor of Massachusetts from 1793 to 1797.
(...)
Attributed
It does not require a majority to prevail, but rather an irate, tireless minority keen to set brush fires in people’s minds…
. As quoted in Cat-Head Biscuits and Squirrel Stew (2001) by George Steven Roof
Variant: It does not require a majority to prevail, but rather an irate, tireless minority keen to set brush fires in people’s minds.
. As quoted in : Enlightened Government for We the People (2006) by Gregory Olinyk

Zazzle.com
“IT DOES NOT TAKE A MAJORITY TO PREVAIL, BUT RATHER AN IRATE, TIRELESS MINORITY, KEEN ON SETTING BRUSHFIRES OF FREEDOM IN THE MINDS OF MEN. “ -Samuel Adams
Hopefully we’re setting some brushfires with these shirts. I may not be tireless, but I am irate.
Product id: 235818631542807785
Made on 5/27/2009 3:06 PM

Google News Archive
6 September 1987, Deseret News (Salt Lake City, UT), “The Man Who Made a Revolution (Samuel Adams)” by Diane Ackerman, Parade Magazine, pg. 22, col. 3:
Early on, he realized that revolutions don’t require a majority to prevail, but rather an irate, tireless minority keen to set brushfires in people’s minds.

Google Books
The Government They Deserve:
The role of the elite in Sudan’s political evolution

By Manṣūr Khālid
London: Kegan Paul International
1990
Pg. 17:
Still, they inspire hope; revolutions, in the light of Samuel Adams, ‘do not require a majority to prevail, rather an irate, tireless minority keen to set brushfires in people’s minds’.

Boston 1775
Monday, May 04, 2009
Samuel Adams and “Brush Fires in People’s Minds”
(...)
It does not require a majority to prevail, but rather an irate, tireless minority keen to set brush fires in people’s minds.

Steinhauser is far from alone in crediting those words to Samuel Adams. They appear on a variety of political websites, from both the left and the right, and in several titles on Google Books, all but one published in the last ten years. (The outlier is a study of Sudanese politics dated to 1990, of all things.) Among the books that include this Adams quotation is Bob Gingrich’s Founding Fathers Vs. History Revisionists, which makes what follows amusingly ironic.

One place that sentence about “an irate, tireless minority” doesn’t appear is in the published writings of Samuel Adams. In fact, my Oxford English Dictionary’s earliest citation of the term “brush fire” is dated 1850, decades after Adams’s death. Its first use of the phrase as a political metaphor is from 1947.

Posted by Barry Popik
New York CityGovernment/Law/Politics/Military • Wednesday, December 02, 2009 • Permalink