Thomas Jefferson and John Adams were the last surviving members of the original American revolutionaries who had fought the British and helped shape the United States of America. However, while they both believed in freedom and choice, their opinions on how to achieve these ideal took very different paths. Adams was a firm believer in a strong centralized government, while Jefferson believed federal government should defer to individual states' rights.
As Adams' vice president, Jefferson was so horrified by what he considered to be Adams' abuse of the presidency--particularly his passage of the restrictive Alien and Sedition Acts of 1798--that he abandoned Adams and Washington for his estate at Monticello. There, he plotted how to bring his Republican faction back into power in the presidential election of 1800. After an exceptionally bitter campaign, in which both parties engaged in slanderous attacks on each other in print, Jefferson triumphed
After serving two presidential terms (1801-1809), Jefferson and Adams each expressed to third parties their respect for each other and their desire to renew their friendship. Adams was the first to break the silence; he sent Jefferson a letter dated January 1, 1812, in which he wished Jefferson many happy new years to come. Jefferson responded with a note in which he fondly recalled when they fought for the same cause of American freedom. The former enemies went on to resume their friendship.
On July 4, 1826, at the age of 90, Adams lay on his deathbed while the country celebrated Independence Day.. His last words were Thomas Jefferson still survives. He was mistaken: Jefferson had died five hours earlier at Monticello at the age of 82