Monday, July 4, 2011

Independence Day

Have you ever discovered the true poetry that happened in the friendship of John Adams and Thomas Jefferson?  It's intriguing. 

They were as different as different could be.  Adams was a straightlaced, hard working, plain speaking, puritanical New Englander, Jefferson a leisurely, gentlemanly, charming, introverted Southerner.  They were nearly perfect opposites, yet they helped form a nation together, they wrote the Declaration of Independence together, and became friends of a lifetime. 

They became like brothers for a time, against a backdrop of Boston, Philadelphia, Virginia, Paris, Denmark, and Washington.  As is often the case, then politics took its toll on them.  As they ran against each other for two presidencies, their contrasting ideals and political gameplay drove a seemingly incurable wedge between them.  Theirs was the bitterest enmity of brothers parted on bad terms.  Then, late in their lives, as they were both dealing with the loss of their wives, age, and semi-infirmity, they began a cautious correspondence which blossomed into a tenderer friendship than they had had before.  Their letters to each other were comforts and delights.  The kinship of forming the new nation was sparked yet again, and their personal interest in each other's lives were rekindled.  They corresponded regularly the rest of their lives.  In fact, in the final act of poetry, they died on the same day...July 4, on the fiftieth anniversary of the nation whose Independence they had drafted together.  Truth is stranger than can't make this stuff up.

***Editor's Note:  For more reading on this subject, check out John Adams by David McCullough.  It's fantastic.

photos courtesy of Wikipedia


  1. Facinating. I'd love to read more - if I were more dedicated. You'll just have to clue me in to these amazing historical insights!

    Hope you are all doing well - have a great day!

  2. Another great source to try that's a little more concise is the chapter on Adams and Jefferson in the book "Founding Brothers" by Joseph Ellis. It's a great, faster read.