The on-again-off-again friendship of Thomas Jefferson and John Adams is the perfect metaphor for America over the years:

Photo Credit: Georgetowner

They were often at odds during their political careers. Jefferson was all about states’ rights, and Adams was a fan of centralized government.

This battle split the two of them, as well as the nation

But, much like our currently polarized country, they also spent a good deal of their lives together. In a way, they were bound to be forever entwined.

They first met in 1775 at the Continental Congress:

They then served together on the committee to draft the Declaration of Independence together in 1776:

Adams had already been in France negotiating the Treaty of Paris and a new trade pact when Jefferson sailed over in 1784 – and once Jefferson showed up in France, Adams began spending a lot more of his time in London.

However, when Jefferson found himself in London for a couple of months in the spring of 1786, he and Adams got together for a tour of the English gardens and Shakespeare’s home:

Photo Credit: Hulton Archive/BBC

In keeping with the custom at the time, they each chipped off a piece of Shakespeare’s chair as a souvenir.

By then they’d known each other for a decade, and their friendship was strong. After all, they’d birthed a nation together.

Now, they were two proud parents strolling the English countryside together…

But things got rougher in 1789, once it was time to begin governance of the new country they had helped to create.