“We hold these truths to be self-evident…”

the ConstitutionThomas Jefferson and John Adams both died on July 4th, 1826, on the 50th anniversary of the Declaration of Independence. Adams was 90, and Jefferson, 82. Adams’ last words were, ‘Thomas Jefferson still survives.’ But he was mistaken. Jefferson had died five hours earlier at his beloved Monticello.

At the time of their deaths, Adams and Jefferson were the last two surviving members of the original American revolutionaries who stood up to Great Britain and forged a new government. Along the way, they disagreed as to how to best found this infant democracy, but both upheld beliefs in liberty and the truths laid forth in the Declaration of Independence. For a time, their heated disagreement led to animosity between them and they lost the deep connection they once had. Fortunately, they reestablished this close bond in the last 14 years of their lives through regular correspondence, and died as good friends.

(Image of the Constitution above)

Some timely quotes from these brilliant and vital Founding Fathers. Without them, America would not exist. If these men were here today, I suspect they would have plenty to say about the state of our nation.

old colonial cemetary“Posterity! You will never know how much it cost the present Generation to preserve your Freedom! I hope you will make good use of it. If you do not, I shall repent in Heaven, that I ever took half the Pains to preserve it.” – John Adams

(Old colonial cemetery in New England)

“History, in general, only informs us what bad government is.” ― Thomas JeffersonLetters of Thomas Jefferson

“The most valuable of all talents is that of never using two words when one will do.” (Lawyers and politicians take note)
― Thomas Jefferson

Indepenance Hall“We in America do not have government by the majority. We have government by the majority who participate.”
― Thomas Jefferson

“A Constitution of Government once changed from Freedom, can never be restored. Liberty, once lost, is lost forever.”
― John AdamsLetters of John Adams, Addressed to His Wife

“The longer I live, the more I read, the more patiently I think, and the more anxiously I inquire, the less I seem to know…Do justly. Love mercy. Walk humbly. This is enough.”
― John AdamsThe Letters of John and Abigail Adams

(Independence Hall in Philadelphia)

“Let us tenderly and kindly cherish therefore, the means of knowledge. Let us dare to read, think, speak, and write .” ― John AdamsThe Works Of John Adams, Second President Of The United States

Liberty bell Philadelphia isolated on white“Whereas it appeareth that however certain forms of government are better calculated than others to protect individuals in the free exercise of their natural rights, and are at the same time themselves better guarded against degeneracy, yet experience hath shewn, that even under the best forms, those entrusted with power have, in time, and by slow operations, perverted it into tyranny.” ~Thomas Jefferson

(The Liberty Bell)

“Facts are stubborn things; and whatever may be our wishes, our inclinations, or the dictates of our passion, they cannot alter the state of facts and evidence.” (Unarguably)
― John AdamsThe Portable John Adams

“I’m a greater believer in luck, and I find the harder I work the more I have of it”  ― Thomas Jefferson

young girls in colonial garb at historic farm“There are two types of education… One should teach us how to make a living, and the other how to live.” – John Adams

“I must study Politics and War that my sons may have liberty to study Mathematics and Philosophy.” – John Adams, letter to Abigail Adams, May 12, 1780.

“Our Constitution was made only for a moral and religious people. It is wholly inadequate to the government of any other.” – John Adams

“Children should be educated and instructed in the principles of freedom.” ~John Adams

“If a nation expects to be ignorant and free, in a state of civilization, it expects what never was and never will be.”  ― Thomas Jefferson

Horse drawn carriage in Williamsburg“I always consider the settlement of America with reverence and wonder, as the opening of a grand scene and design in providence, for the illumination of the ignorant and the emancipation of the slavish part of mankind all over the earth.” ~John Adams

“There is danger from all men. The only maxim of a free government ought to be to trust no man living with power to endanger the public liberty.” ~John Adams

(Horse drawn carriage in colonial Williamsburg)

“The equal rights of man, and the happiness of every individual, are now acknowledged to be the only legitimate objects of government.”
― Thomas JeffersonLetters of Thomas Jefferson

459505669“We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.” ~From The Declaration of Independence, penned by Thomas Jefferson

(The Declaration of Independence and the Betsy Ross Flag)

There are so many more nuggets of wisdom I could have included. And I know I’ve said this before, but if you haven’t seen the John Adams series, do!

I love the theme song.

15 responses to ““We hold these truths to be self-evident…”

  1. Thank you for the intriguing American history lesson. We learned a bit of it in Canada, and see remnants of it in movies/tv shows, but this was much better. 🙂


  2. When I took American History in college, the professor told us we’d only have to memorize one date the whole term. And that was July 4, 1826.

    The relationship between Adams and Jefferson over the decades was fascinating. Thank you for highlighting it.


  3. Oh Beth, when I get on Facebook this morning I am going to share this with everyone. I wish I had 10,000 friends to share it with. It is so sad that so many of today’s youth don’t really understand how much was sacrificed for the country we call America. I myself love history books, but I think schools should try to incorporate more of the human side of history and let real people tell their stories. Great post!!! Jinny ❤


  4. What a great post for the 4th of July. I love learning about America’s history.
    Sue B


  5. Hi there! I’ve nominated you for a Liebster Award! Congrats! I hope you keep it going.


  6. Timely and excellent post, Beth. I really like the quote from John Adams starting with, “The longer I live….” I can so relate to his comments!
    Congratulations on your upcoming release, Traitor’s Legacy! We don’t have enough Colonial historical romances to suit me. I’m very much looking forward to reading this one. (Màiri Norris)


  7. Pingback: They Who Crafted The Declaration of Independence – and the Example They Set For Us | PA Pundits - International

  8. Pingback: The ‘Miracle’ of July 4, 1826 | Marietta GA Attorneys

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