John Adams and Thomas Jefferson, the nation’s second and third presidents respectively, both died on July 4 within hours of each other in 1826.
The two political adversaries became great friends in their later years and ended up dying exactly 50 years after the Declaration of Independence was passed.
Adams, the successor to George Washington, lived to be 90 years old while Jefferson was 83 at the time. time of his death.
Jefferson actually died shortly after noon. A few hours later, Adams, unaware of the news, spoke his last words: “Thomas Jefferson survives.
Feuding founders Thomas Jefferson and John Adams both died within hours of each other on July 4, 1826 – the 50th anniversary of the Declaration of Independence https://t.co/PNnrEmMle3 pic.twitter.com/HYODqe23RV
— CNN (@CNN) July 5, 2018
4th of July coincidence – John Adams and Thomas Jefferson both die
John Adams and Thomas Jefferson were politically estranged for eleven years after the presidential election (what some call the Second American Revolution) of 1800. Jefferson defeated Adams that year after what is described as a bitter campaign.
Adams narrowly defeated Jefferson in the 1796 election.
The election highlighted the current dominance of both parties in presidential elections and is often cited as the first example of a “modern” election, filled with regional divisions and bipartisan smear campaigns.
Adams would eventually write a letter to Jefferson about January 1, 1812and the two would correspond with each other until their coinciding deaths.
On July 4, 1986, then-President Ronald Reagan honored their relationship in his own Independence Day Address to the Nation.
After a bitter and divisive campaign, Jefferson defeated Adams for the presidency in 1800. And the night before Jefferson’s inauguration, Adams slipped away to Boston, disappointed, heartbroken and bitter.
For years, their estrangement lasted. But then, when both had retired, Jefferson at 68 in Monticello and Adams at 76 in Quincy, they started talking to each other again through their letters. Letters that covered almost every subject imaginable: gardening, horseback riding, even sneezing as a cure for hiccups; but also other topics: the loss of loved ones, the mystery of grief and pain, the importance of religion, and of course the last thoughts, the last hopes of two old men, two great patriarchs, for the country they had helped find and love so deeply. “It brings me back,” Jefferson wrote of the correspondence with his co-signer of the Declaration of Independence, “to the days when, beset with difficulties and dangers, we were fellow workers in the same cause, fighting for what is most precious to man, his right to autonomy. through the storm with heart and hand….”
It was their last gift to us, this lesson in brotherhood, in tolerance for each other, this glimpse of America’s strength as a nation. And when the two died on the same day within hours of each other, that date was July 4, exactly 50 years after that first gift to us, the Declaration of Independence.
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John Adams thought Independence Day should be July 2
John Adams actually believed that July 2, 1776 marked the most important day for America’s independence – the day the Continental Congress officially declared freedom from Britain.
“July 2, 1776 will be the most memorable time in American history. I am likely to believe it will be celebrated by future generations as the great birthday festival,” he wrote to his wife Abigail.
“It should be commemorated as the day of deliverance, by solemn acts of devotion to Almighty God”, says Adams.
“It is to be celebrated with pomp and parade, with shows, games, sports, guns, bells, bonfires and illuminations, across this continent from now on. for all time.”
Did you know? John Adams thought July 2 was the right date to celebrate the birth of American independence and would turn down invitations to show up at July 4 events in protest. Both Adams and Thomas Jefferson died on July 4, 1826, the 50th anniversary.
— Kambree (@KamVTV) July 4, 2021
On July 4, 1831, five years after Adams and Jefferson died, the fifth President of the United States, James Monroe, is also dead.
This makes him the third founding father to pass on this historic date.
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