Before they were the title of a West Wing episode or a Monticello Foundation fundraising drive, "Jefferson Lives" were reported to be the dying words of America's second president, John Adams, whom Thomas Jefferson followed into office in 1801.
Both Adams and Jefferson died on July 4, 1826 - the fiftieth anniversary of the Declaration of Independence - but as it turns out, Adams was mistaken in his assumption. Jefferson actually passed away several hours before his predecessor did.
Adams and Jefferson were bitter political rivals during their illustrious and historic careers, but in their later years they became good friends and regular pen pals.
Five years after their deaths - on July 4, 1831 - another American President and Founding Father breathed his last on this most revered day in our nation's history - James Monroe.
And although it wouldn't be referred to by its famous name until after his death, Monroe outlined to the U.S. Congress on December 2, 1823, a 'doctrine' of resistance to additional colonization attempts in the Americas by the European powers and our nation's neutrality in European conflicts. The 'Monroe Doctrine' shaped American foreign policy for decades.
Incidentally, Monroe's Secretary of War was South Carolinian John C. Calhoun.
We here at FITS hope each and every one of you has a safe and happy Fourth of July. Now go out there and enjoy your "self-evident truths" and "inalienable rights."