One hundred and eighty six years ago both Thomas Jefferson and John Adams passed away on this day, exactly fifty years after the adoption of the Declaration of Independence.
It’s hard to ignore the coincidence of this timing.
A couple summers back I bought an old book containing a eulogy given by Daniel Webster in August of 1826—I think this sums it up nicely:
No two men now live, fellow-citizens, perhaps it may be doubted whether any two men have ever lived in one age, who, more than those we now commemorate, have impressed on mankind their own sentiments in regard to politics and government, infused their own opinions more deeply into the opinions of others, or given a more lasting direction to the current of human thought. Their work doth not perish with them.
No age will come in which the American Revolution will appear less than it is, one of the greatest events in human history. No age will come in which it shall cease to be seen and felt, on either continent, that a mighty step, a great advance, not only in American affairs, but in human affairs, was made on the 4th of July, 1776.
– Shewmaker, 104-113