Thursday, July 05, 2007

July 4, 1826:

A Most Remarkable Coincidence

It's one of the first facts that presidential enthusiasts learn: Thomas Jefferson and John Adams died on the same day of the same year, and not just any day of any year, but July 4, 1826, exactly 50 years to the day that the United States declared independence. Seldom do lifespans dovetail so neatly with historical anniversaries.

Adams and Jefferson weren't the only presidents to die on Independence Day, however. James Monroe did as well, but five years later in 1831, and thus July 4 is the only day in all of the calendar to claim three chief executives. Only two dates have claimed two: March 8 (Fillmore and Taft) and December 26 (Truman and Ford).

The only vice president to die on July 4 -- not counting Adams and Jefferson, who held that post before the presidency -- was Hannibal Hamlin of Maine, Lincoln's first vice president. He held on until the summer of 1891.

Only one president celebrated his birthday on the Fourth of July, Calvin Coolidge, who was born in 1872. Coolidge also happens to be the only vice president ever born on that patriotic day.

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