Two Signers of the Declaration of Independence Died on the 4th of July

4th of July

America’s 2nd and 3rd presidents both died on the 4th of July in 1826, mere hours apart, on the 50th birthday of this nation! Now; what are the odds of that? John Adams and Thomas Jefferson were the last surviving American revolutionists against the British Empire. Adams served as president from 1797 to 1801 and Jefferson from 1801 to 1809.

Adams and Jefferson had been close friends since they met at the Continental Congress in 1775 in Philadelphia. Despite their very different personalities and styles, they had deep respect and affinity for one another. They engaged in regular socialization together. Jefferson was described as a gentleman who believed in individual states’ rights to over involvement of federal government. Adams was described as hot-tempered and a strong believer in centralized government. Both men worked on the Declaration of Independence in 1776.

By 1797, their differences grew too great. In 1798, Jefferson returned to his estate at Monticello, separating him and Adams and giving him the opportunity to develop a campaign to run for the next term presidency.

Adams ran for a second term, challenged by Jefferson who ultimately served 2 terms. Campaigning was bitter (at least for that time), and the friendship came to a halt with Jefferson winning. Adams and Jefferson did not correspond again until 1812.

In these next and final 14 years, their friendship grew richer and deeper through letter-writing. While it was Adams who initiated the first letter, it is reported that both men had desired reunification of their friendship during the years preceding. At the age of 90, on July, 4 1826, John Adams died. His last words were, “Jefferson still survives”. He was unaware that his dear friend Thomas Jefferson died at the age of 83 just 5 hours prior.

Please join Old New England Restoration Inc., this 4th of July in honoring our brave fore-fathers who gave our great country life, and especially to John Adams and Thomas Jefferson, the last 2 revolutionists lost 190 years ago.

Sources Sited: John Adams by David McCullough;;