About the National Archives

Welcome Remarks for "Rival Friends (John Adams and Thomas Jefferson)"

McGowan Theater, National Archives Building, Washington, DC
July 3, 2018

Good afternoon, and welcome to the William G. McGowan Theater at the National Archives for today’s special presentation of “Rival Friends: John Adams and Thomas Jefferson Discuss & Debate the Founding of the United States.”

I’m pleased you could join us, whether you are here in the theater or watching on YouTube.

This afternoon, as a preview for tomorrow’s July 4th festivities, we bring you Thomas Jefferson and John Adams—two leaders of the Second Continental Congress, former Presidents of the United States, and drafters of the Declaration of Independence. Today they will discuss, debate, and sometimes decry the revolutionary storms they weathered throughout a relationship spanning 50 years. This is a debate fueled not by party animosity or reciprocal hatred, but rather by a shared love of America spiced with opposing notions of how best to protect and foster the nation.

Mr. Adams and Mr. Jefferson invite you to participate at various times—through question-and-answer sessions, votes, and a few trivia games.

I hope that you will return tomorrow, July 4th, as we celebrate the 242nd anniversary of the adoption of the Declaration of Independence with our traditional Fourth of July program. Local Fox 5 News Anchor Allison Seymour will return as the master of ceremonies, and Mr. Adams and Mr. Jefferson will be joined by General George Washington, Dr. Benjamin Franklin, Abigail Adams, and Private Ned Hector for a dramatic reading of the Declaration.

There also be a performance from the Old Guard Fife & Drum Corps, as well as other musical selections.

From 11 a.m. until 4 p.m., we will have family activities inside the building.

And of course, you’ll have an opportunity to view the Charters of Freedom—the Declaration of Independence, the U.S. Constitution, and the Bill of Rights—our Rotunda.

To learn more about our Independence Day celebration and all of our public programs and exhibits, consult our monthly Calendar of Events online at Archives.gov. Check our website or sign up at the table outside the theater to get email updates.

Another way to get more involved with the National Archives is to become a member of the National Archives Foundation. The Foundation supports the work of the agency, especially its education and outreach programs. Pick up your application for membership in the lobby or become a member online at archivesfoundation.org.

And now with our further ado, it’s my pleasure to introduce to you—Mr. Thomas Jefferson and Mr. John Adams. Gentlemen?