Wednesday, July 4, 2018

July 4, 1826


John Adams (October 30, 1735 – July 4, 1826) was an American statesman and Founding Father who served as the first Vice President (1789–97) and second President of the United States (1797–1801). He was a lawyer, diplomat, political theorist, and a leader of the movement for American independence from Great Britain.

Adams was sent as a delegate from colonial Massachusetts to the Continental Congress, where he played a leading role in persuading Congress to declare independence. He assisted in drafting the declaration of Independence in 1776, and was its foremost advocate in the Congress. As a diplomat in Europe, he helped negotiate the eventual peace treaty with Great Britain, and acquired vital governmental loans from Amsterdam bankers. Adams was the primary author of the Massachusetts Constitution in 1780. This influenced the development of America's own constitution, as did his earlier Thoughts on Government (1776).

John Adams died on the 50th anniversary of the adoption of the Declaration of Independence, and the same day as Jefferson.


Thomas Jefferson (April 13, [ O.S. April 2] 1743 – July 4, 1826) was an American Founding Father who was the principal author of the Declaration of Independence and later served as the third president of the United States from 1801 to 1809. Previously, he had been elected the second vice president of the United States, serving under John Adams from 1797 to 1801. He was a proponent of democracy, republicanism, and individual rights motivating American colonist to break from Great Britain and form a new nation; he produced formative documents and decisions at both the state and national level.

During the last hours of his life, he was accompanied by family members and friends. On July 4 at 12:50 p.m., Jefferson died at age 83 on the 50th anniversary of the Declaration of Independence, and just a few hours before the death of John Adams. When Adams died, his last words included an acknowledgement of his longtime friend and rival: "Thomas Jefferson survives", though Adams was unaware that Jefferson had died several hours before. The sitting president was Adams's son John Quincy, and he called the coincidence of their deaths on the nation's anniversary "visible and palpable remarks of Divine Favor".

Copy and photos from here on John Adams and here on Thomas Jefferson.

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