Schouler was born in Kilbarchan, Renfrewshire, Scotland. He immigrated to the United States as a young child, where his father had set up a silk print-works establishment on Staten Island. Later the elder Schoulder established a similar business in Arlington, Massachusetts which is where Schouler mainly grew up.
In 1842 Schouler became the owner and editor of the Lowell Courier, in which position he continued for six years. Also during this time he served as a member of the Massachusetts House of Representatives from Lowell. In 1845 Schouler headed a commission that investigated mill conditions in Lowell and recommended against shortening the work day. In 1848 Schouler moved to Boston, where he was part-owner of the Atlas. He also served as a member of the State House from Boston.
Schouler was a delegate at the 1853 Massachusetts State Constitutional Convention. At this convention Schouler expressed the view that corporations were merely devices for people to avoid paying debts.
In 1858 Schouler moved back to Boston. In 1860 he was appointed Adjutant General of Massachusetts, in which position he remained until 1867. Schouler later served one term in the Massachusetts State Senate. He also wrote the two volume History of Massachusetts in the Civil War.
- David R. Roediger and Philip Sheldon Foner. On Our Own Time: A History of American Labor and the Working Day 1989. p. 56
- Eric Foner. Free Soil, Free Labor, Free Men. p. 22-23
||Adjutant General of Massachusetts
1860 - 1867
James A. Cunningham