On this July 4th weekend while you are firing off Roman candles and drinking that third beer, spare a thought for this nation's vice presidents. While their job might not be worth "a warm bucket of piss" as FDR's first veep John Nance Garner famously described it, they seem constitutionally prone to die on Independence Day. America's first and second vice presidents - John Adams and Thomas Jefferson - both died on the same day, July 4, 1826. That's precisely 50 years to the day both signed the Declaration of Independence.
Adams and Jefferson were, of course, rivals during their long political careers. When they squared off in the election of 1796, the rules were that the guy who got second place wound up the veep. Jefferson lost and thus became America's number two. This process might seem fair on paper but in practice pairing up with a political competitor became a recipe for intrigue and ill-will. By the election of 1800, they amended the laws to the current party system. The heated rivalry between Adams and Jefferson, by the way, turned to a lifelong friendship after they left public service.