Saturday, July 3, 2010
July 4, 1826
I, of course, couldn't pass up this opportunity to bestow upon all my loyal readers a little historical irony in celebration of our nation's birth.
You may recognize the above date for the month and day, but you may be wondering the significance of the year I attached to the date. July 4, 1826 was not only the 50th anniversary of the signing of The Declaration of Independence, but it also marked the end of a long and complicated relationship between two of the most important men in American history: Thomas Jefferson and John Adams.
Even though Jefferson and Adams both shared a love for this country and a vision that one day the colonies could stand together as one united nation, they, for most of their adult lives, hated one another. And even though Adams helped Jefferson in forging one of the most important documents in US history, their relationship was plagued with bitter resentment that led Jefferson to head what was the Republican party (at that time, which is really more like today's democratic party) and Adams supporting The Federalist party.
It was only after both men were able to leave the presidency and move away from the national spotlight, that they were able to set aside their differences and realize they actually had more in common than they did differences. However their friendship was cut short when both men, on the 50th anniversary of the signing of The Declaration, passed away. It is also believed that Adams', dying words were, "Jefferson survives", further demonstrating their deep relationship and yet proving, Adams had no idea that his friend had just passed hours before at his home in Virginia.