Today in American History: May 27, 1813

Today in American History: May 27, 1813

On May 27, 1813, former President Thomas Jefferson wrote a letter to former President John Adams. In his letter he informs John Adams that their mutual friend, Dr. Benjamin Rush, had died.

Rush passing away made Jefferson really think about the departure of the Revolutionary generation. He wrote, "We too must go; and that ere long. I believe we are under half a dozen at present; I mean the signers of the Declaration."

Jefferson and Adams had become bitter opponents by the time the 1800 presidential election rolled around. Jefferson had just defeated Adams by a hair in that election. They weren't always enemies though. During the revolutionary era, the two men were leading intellectuals and politicians.

Jefferson and Adams went 12 years without speaking because of their differences and disagreement over the role of the federal government. But after 12 years, the two old friends managed to reestablish their discourse of their younger years in Philadelphia. There they both served in the Continental Congress. And in Paris, where they served together as ambassadors to France.

In 1812 it was because of Benjamin Rush, a physician and Patriot, that Jefferson and Adams renewed correspondence and reconciliation. Their correspondence continued until both ex-presidents died on July 4, 1826, which happened to be the 50th anniversary of the signing of the Declaration of Independence that all three friends had signed.

Adams and Jefferson weren't the only ones to have their differences. Rush and Jefferson had also had their own conflict. Adams and Jefferson had disagreed over government and politics, but Rush and Jefferson had disagreements over their conversations about religion. Although Rush believed in universal salvation, he accepted Jesus as his savior. Jefferson, who was a deist, never saw Jesus as anything other than a man.

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