The relationship between the 2nd US President John Adams and his successor Thomas Jefferson was characterized by friendship, unfriendliness and mutual respect. These are two of the USA’s most central presidents throughout history and both were central when the USA’s Declaration of Independence was written. They died on the exact same day, on the 50th anniversary of America’s Declaration of Independence. According to sources, Adam’s last words are said to be:
But Jefferson lives
What he didn’t show was that Jefferson died a few hours earlier.
The Declaration of Independence
Both were on the committee that drafted the Declaration of Independence. Thomas Jefferson is said to have been responsible for the design itself. It was signed on 4 July 1776.
It was the thirteen colonies in North America that came together in a desire for independence from Great Britain. The declaration led to the American War of Independence which lasted until 1783.
John Adams was an envoy to Europe to gather support in the war against Great Britain. He received support from France, the Netherlands and Spain. These countries gave varying amounts of support, the Netherlands primarily financially, while France actively participated in the war against Great Britain. Finally, France succeeds in inflicting a stinging defeat on Britain’s navy at the Chesapeake. This naval battle was the main reason why Great Britain recognized the independence of the United States in 1783. The agreement is later known as the Paris Agreement.
Presidents Adams and Jefferson
On March 4, 1797, John Adams succeeded the legendary George Washington as President of the United States. During Washington’s presidency, he had been vice president.
Eventually, Adams and Jefferson developed a major disagreement about the French Revolution. Jefferson was against the monarchy, while Adams did not see the monarchy in itself as a problem. Adams believed that it was crucial for the United States to have a good relationship with Britain even after independence. This disagreement developed into enmity and in the election 4 years later, he lost the election to his former vice president. Thomas Jefferson served as president for 8 years.
Friends, enemies and then friends
After Jefferson was elected president, almost a hatred arose between them. Adams refused to attend when Jefferson’s inauguration as president took place. 12 years passed without them speaking to each other.
Despite disagreements, the respect for each other must have been great. They record the communication and write letters to each other regularly. They wrote about 200 letters to each other. The letters show that old enmity was still present, but that they had a mutual respect for each other.
The fact that they die on the same day, just a few hours apart is of course coincidental. John Adams was supposed to have been a hypochondriac all his life and constantly afraid that something dangerous was wrong with him. Of course, it is remarkable that both died on the day 50 years after the Declaration of Independence was adopted. They died 4 July 1826.