Fellow laborers

This Day in History

Today we celebrate Fourth of July in addition to honoring a trio of extraordinary historical leaders that have molded the world that we live in today. 

On July 4, 1826, John Adams and Thomas Jefferson, took their last breaths – only five hours apart from each other. The two former allies had broken their friendship after much political and personal debate while Jefferson was vice president to Adams (1797 – 1801).  

Despite both possessing beliefs in life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness, the two friends split when they found differing opinions pertaining to how to actually achieved those ideals. 

A little while preceding the election of 1800, Jefferson, representing the Republican party, retreated back to Monticello to formulate a strategy to retake the office. Following a rancorous campaign, Jefferson emerged victorious despite slanderous attacks from both sides and served two presidential terms (1801 – 1809). 

After about a decade of rivalry, Adams and Jefferson discovered through third parties that respect had not been lost for one another and a spark to rekindle their friendship had been set ablaze. 

One of Jefferson's letters to Adams

A letter dated January 1, 1812, was delivered to Jefferson with Adams wishing him many happy new years to come. 

Jefferson replied with an extensive note wherein he says, “A letter from you calls up recollections very dear to my mind. It carries me back to the times when, beset with difficulties and dangers, we were fellow laborers in the same cause, struggling for what is most valuable to man, his right of self-government.”  

They went on to correspond cordially with each other for another 14 years into their last days. Finally, on July 4, 1826, Jefferson passed in his beloved Monticello estate just five hours ahead of Adams while the country they built was celebrating Independence Day. Still a better love story than Twilight.  


(Believe it or not – James Monroe, 5th and final president of the founding fathers, also passed away five years later on this same day in history. These men truly lived and died by the country they fought so valiantly to forge) 

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1 Response
  1. Barbara Garrison

    Amazing sharing, John Henry. You’ve included details I did not know of a relationship between two esteemed historical persons. So timely – the homegoings on Independence Day of these two individuals so crucial to our nation’s foundation. B.

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