Did you know that John Adams and Thomas Jefferson both died during the fiftieth anniversary of the Declaration of Independence on July 4, 1826?
The really big problem with revising history can occur while trying to keep out negative facts and sugarcoating the positive points.
John Adams, of all the Founding Fathers, was the real literal father of many, including another future president, and took great interest in shaping his children’s character. And he was the metaphorical father of a nation whose character he likewise tried to shape, often against fierce resistance.
Adams was born on October 30, 1735. He was an American statesman, attorney, diplomat, writer, and last but not least, one of our greatest Founding Fathers who served as the second president of the United States from 1797 to 1801.
He was a leader of the American Revolution that achieved independence from Great Britain and served as the first vice president of the United States. Adams was a dedicated diarist and regularly corresponded with many important figures in early American history, including his wife and adviser, Abigail. His letters and other papers serve as an important source of historical information about the era.
Thomas Jefferson wrote his own epitaph and designed the obelisk grave marker that was to bear three of his accomplishments.
AUTHOR OF THE DECLARATION OF AMERICAN INDEPENDENCE
OF THE STATUTE OF VIRGINIA FOR RELIGIOUS FREEDOM AND FATHER OF THE UNIVERSITY OF VIRGINIA
BORN APRIL 2, 1743
Jefferson could have filled several markers had he chosen to list his other public offices: third president of the new United States, vice president, Secretary of State, diplomatic minister, and congressman.
For his home state of Virginia, he served as governor and member of the House of Delegates and the House of Burgesses as well as filling various local offices — all tallied into almost five decades of public service.
He also omitted his work as a lawyer, architect, writer, farmer, gentleman scientist, and life as the patriarch of an extended family at Monticello, both white and black.
Jefferson offered no particular explanation as to why only these three accomplishments should be recorded, but they were unique to Jefferson.