On this Independence Day, not only do we celebrate the signing of the Declaration of Independence, but it also marks the anniversary of the passing of President John Adams and President Thomas Jefferson. They died within five hours of each other on this date in 1826, the 50th year of the country they helped to found.

Adams and Jefferson were key patriots in the revolutionary effort and both contributed immensely to establish the democracy we have today. But after years of collaboration, the two differed significantly on how to run the country and they became bitter adversaries…

…until they chose to focus more on their commonalities than disagreements. Soon after Jefferson’s presidency, the two rekindled their friendship and became regular correspondents for the 14 years until their death.

I’m sure it was difficult for Adams to pen the initial letter to Jefferson offering an olive branch of reconciliation, but both men benefitted because he did. This Fourth of July, take a lesson from two of our country’s Founding Fathers and take the first step to find the higher ground in one of your relationships.

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