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John Adams and Thomas Jefferson, bitter political rivals and, at times, close friends, died on the very same day — July 4, 1826, 50 years after signing the Declaration of Independence. The two were the last surviving of the original revolutionaries who helped forge a new nation after breaking with the British Empire. During their presidencies, the two diverged on policy and became leaders of opposing political parties, but at the urging of another founding father, Benjamin Rush, around 1812, Adams and Jefferson began a correspondence that lasted the rest of their lives. On his deathbed at the age of 90, Adams’ last words were reportedly “Jefferson still lives,” but he was mistaken — Jefferson had died five hours earlier in Monticello, Virginia.