Tuesday, July 04, 2006

Fourth of July

I never knew until a few years ago that Thomas Jefferson and John Adams both died on the same day...July 4th 1826. They actually died within a few hours of each other. Adams and Jefferson had an odd relationship. In today's politics, one would probably be a republican and the other a democrat. They became friends when they were in France but here in the young America, they were both passionate about their beliefs and it strained their relationship.
It's interesting that Thomas Jefferson accounted for every cent he ever spent and according to the biography of John Adams, he spent a lot of money. John Adams on the other hand lived very modestly.
There are many stories about the roles these two remarkable men played in the formative years of our country. Both men were brilliant, but it strikingly different ways. Adams was more pragmatic and down to earth. He was considered by some to be the glue that held the loose confederation together. Jefferson thought outside the box. Jefferson had a way with words. Just read the Declaration of Independence if you need proof. After the draft was written, there were very few changes. Benjamin Franklin requested a wording change "we hold these truths to be self evident." Originally there was other language that expressed this sentiment, but Franklin nailed it with his suggestion.
You don't normally think of these men as brave but the truth is, it took a great deal of courage to do what they did. After all they were traitors to England because up until July 4th 1776, we were a colony of the British Crown. What our forefathers did was to say: we aren't going to take it any more. If a few events had turned out differently, we may have been British today and all those men would most certainly have been hanged.
Didn't mean to turn this into a history lesson because what I really wanted to say is Happy 4th of July America.

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