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Rival Friends: John Adams and Thomas Jefferson Discuss & Debate the Founding of the United States

William G. McGowan Theater
Washington, DC

Tuesday, July 3, 2018 - 12:00 p.m. to 1:00 p.m. EST

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The personal friendship, patriotic collaboration, and political rivalry of Thomas Jefferson and John Adams spanned five decades. Together they fought to establish the new nation; later, they fought over the direction that nation would take. In the end, they gave future generations the precious example of two U.S. Presidents opposed to one another in politics yet allied in patriotism and mutual respect.

The two Founding Fathers (portrayed by Joseph Doyle and Steven Edenbo) will debate each other and take questions from the audience. Topics will include the Declaration of Independence, Alexander Hamilton, the Constitution, the Presidency, and any subject that the audience would like to introduce (provided it happened before July 4, 1826). This program is presented in collaboration with American Historical Theatre (

See the complete schedule of all of our Independence Day events on our July 4 Celebration page.

July 4th at the National Archives is made possible in part by the National Archives Foundation with the generous support of John Hancock, Dykema, WMATA, and Boies Schiller Flexner.



All events listed in the calendar are free unless noted.