The Declaration of Independence and The Fourth of July – A Deadly Anniversary?

John Adams, Thomas Jefferson, and James Monroe all died on July 4th. Adams and Jefferson, who both signed the Declaration of Independence (Jefferson created the first draft) died on the same day in the same year: July 4, 1826, which was also the fiftieth anniversary of when the Declaration was adopted.

Thomas Jefferson

Thomas Jefferson

Jefferson, gravely ill, barely made it to the Fourth, but was determined to hang on until that date. Adams, meanwhile, unaware that Jefferson had died just hours before, on his death bed reputedly muttered “Thomas Jefferson still lives” before he himself died.

John Adams

John Adams

President James Monroe died on July 4, 1831, exactly five years after Adams and Jefferson died. Monroe did not sign the Declaration, because he was at that time serving in the Continental Army. After the war, however, he studied law as a legal apprentice under Thomas Jefferson. He served in a variety of government positions as well, finally getting elected to the presidency in 1816.

James Monroe

James Monroe

Like James Madison, he remained a mentee of Jefferson, tried to live like he did (he built a mansion near Monticello), and even tried to die like him. In that respect, he was successful. (Madison tried his best, but died on June 28 of 1836, missing out by only a week on the chance for a Superfecta.)

James Madison

James Madison

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3 Responses

  1. That is certainly fascinating! I can see how it’s probably a “holy” date for presidents to die on.

  2. A day full of history!

  3. Yes, I knew this — Mr. BFR’s father was born on July 4 (this year would have been his 100th birthday). But he didn’t die on the 4th.

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