Jefferson and Adams Died on the Same Day, only Hours Apart
Presidents Thomas Jefferson and John Adams both died on July 4th 1826 within five hours of each other. Their deaths in many ways marked the end of an era in American history.
This is relevant, or at least interesting, from many perspectives as:
- Jefferson was in many ways the ideological leader of the Anti-Federalists and eventually to be Democratic Party, while Adams was in many ways the ideological leader of the Federalists and eventually to be the Republican party.
- Both men were founders and important early Presidents who helped shape the future of the country on a number of levels (both as presidents, as statesmen, and as revolutionaries).
- As noted, their deaths essentially marked the end of an era. In Wikipedia’s terms, although I concur, “The First Party System is a model of American politics used in history and political science to periodize the political party system that existed in the United States between roughly 1792 and 1824.” Adams and Jefferson were key figures in this era, and they largely shaped the ideology of their respective parties in this era. The era is generally said to end shortly before both passed away. Thus their passing is symbolic in this sense. They were some of the last founding fathers to pass.
Now for a few bits of interesting human interest story:
Adams and Jefferson had once worked together, but had eventually become rivals (both in terms of their personal stances on policy and in terms of party politics). However, toward the end of their life they expressed to friends a desire to put aside their differences and renew their old friendship. This however never happened in practice.
That said, there is one famous story from the end of their lives that I’ll tell via an excerpt from History.com:
On July 4, 1826, at the age of 90, Adams lay on his deathbed while the country celebrated Independence Day. His last words were Thomas Jefferson still survives. He was mistaken: Jefferson had died five hours earlier at Monticello at the age of 82.
Here is the TV version of that moment:
Deaths of Adams and Jefferson, July 4, 1826.