Awesome / Liberty's Kids

  • Whoever decided to hire Walter Cronkite to do Benjamin Franklin and decided to open each episode (the PBS airings, at least) with something very similar to Cronkite's famous role as anchorman of The CBS Evening News.
  • The "give me liberty or give me death" speech was a Real Life one for Patrick Henry, but the passion with which Michael Douglas plays it makes it one for him as well.
  • In "The Intolerable Acts", Ben Franklin standing up at his own trial in London to thank his prosecutor for one thing: reaffirming his faith to fledgling America. Ben then declares himself an American citizen in front of the British elite.
    • In the same episode, Phyllis Wheatley giving the redcoats a literal poetry slam.
  • The Marquis de Lafayette is a walking CMOA. Not only does he demonstrate bravery and resilience in his first battle, where he organizes the army's retreat despite being wounded in the leg, but he goes on to prove himself a tactical genius and a master of hide-and-seek—most of which isn't portrayed in the series, sadly. At one point, Lafayette's troops were surrounded by the British, who were intent on capturing him, but he managed to escape by creating a diversion and sneaking his troops out via an old Iroquois hunting trail.
  • Lafayette at one point is approached by the opportunistic generals Thomas Conway and Horatio Gates to swear himself loyal to them and to create an inner circle that will usurp control of the Continental Army from Washington, whom Gates viewed as incompetent. The men discuss their plans at a tavern where Sarah and Moses intend to warn him. Before this can happen, Lafayette makes a toast, seemingly pledging loyalty to Gates, only to repeat his loyalty to Washington instead, and storms out with the intent to expose their plot.
    • Serves as Truth in Television as Gates really did try to sabotage Washington with the help of Conway in the incident known as the Conway Cabal, where the generals were eventually exposed after their letters slandering the general were intercepted, forcing them to stand down to avoid prosecution.
  • Washington's charge on Trenton is practically the CMOA of the Revolution, and after crossing the treacherous Delaware River successfully captures the town virtually without loss, at a time when the Revolution seemed all but completely hopeless after the events on Long Island.
    • One young private who befriended the main trio being the first to volunteer for another tour of service when Washington appeals to them to stay. Reasoning that he can't fight the war alone, every single other soldier steps forward to reenlist. This was after spending much of the episode thinking more about returning home after having lost faith in the cause, until finally being reminded what it is they are fighting for.
    • In the same episode, Washington and his troops escape the intervening British force just in time to score yet another victory at nearby Princeton. In real-life, it was these two victories that would convince the Americans that the war was not yet lost.
    Washington: It's a fine fox hunt now, my boys!
  • In "Allies at Last", Dr. Franklin successfully baits the French into reopening negotiations for an alliance with the Americans, by having personally met with a member of the British secret service who were hoping to convince him to switch allegiance to the British. Once Franklin has gotten the information he desires, he lets it get out to the French, who were reluctant to commit to war for fear of offending the Spanish crown, a distant relative of the French monarch. Fearful of the possibility of an American pact with the British that could undermine their dwindling power in North America, the French finally pursue a full alliance with the Americans.
    • Franklin further demonstrates his savviness by smoking out a pair of English spies on the embassy grounds hoping to spy on Franklin's meeting with the British by sending a decoy ahead of his messenger.
    • Also this exchange when Comte De Vergennes voices the aforementioned objections to a military alliance:
    Franklin: I've been a patient man, and I don't wish to be rude, but given the circumstances....
    Vergennes: At least stay and finish your pastries!
    Franklin: I'm sorry, but now I'm in the mood for some English tea. Au revoir.
  • In "Honor and Compromise", George Washington marches into the Battle of Monmouth just in time to find Major General Charles Lee's troops in retreat, and immediately rips into the pompous officer for jeopardizing the entire engagement. When Lee refuses to back down, insulting Washington and even worse, insulting his troops, Washington immediately ejects him from the field and rallies his men, as James and Henri look on in nothing less than pure amazement.
    • Even better when you realize this really did happen in the real-life engagement; the real-life General Lee's reputation for arrogance certainly earned him everything he had coming to him.
      • Including one of Washington's aides-de-camp, John Laurens, wounding Lee in a duel later that year.
  • The midnight ride of Sybil Ludington, who volunteers to rally the militia when the British attack and raze Danbury. Later, a group of tories attempt to capture her father, the leader of the militia. How does she stave them off? By having her entire family (Plus James) marching back and forth with their guns and broomsticks to make them believe an entire brigade is present.
  • In "The New Frontier" James gets a major one when he sees a mob of patriots in Philadelphia looking to prosecute suspected tories, starting with James Wilson of the Continental Congress who had barricaded himself in his home. When they announce their intent to have him tarred and feathered, James immediately calls them out on their madness and denounces it as nothing more than an act of violence. Even when the mob leader threatens to have James tarred and feathered, he does not back down, and makes his point known to the entire city when the mob is defeated by the local militia.
    • It serves as a major development in James' character as he had previously joined in a mob that had an innocent man tarred and feathered for his supposed disloyalty to the Americans, before learning what a truly cruel fate this is for a man to endure. Having learned to take a more objective view of the revolution thanks to the influence of Sarah and Dr. Franklin, James abandons the more radical views he sees from his countrymen.
  • John Paul Jones in "I Have Not Yet Begun To Fight" rips into Sarah's viewpoint of the world.
    Sarah: [Reacting to Jones' decision to fight the Royal Navy] But you were born British!
    Jones: I was born a Scot, Ms. Phillips! No British man e'er showed mercy tae me!
  • Let's consider how Sarah was first introduced in the very first episode of the show— calmly writing a letter to her mother in the midst of a ferocious storm at sea, even while the lantern over her head is swinging back and forth dangerously and her inkwell is sliding across the table. Screw the storm, she's got a letter to write.
  • Several of the younger historical characters, including Alexander Hamilton, the Marquis de Lafayette, Sybil Ludington and Deborah Samson, are all either prodigies or demonstrate a maturity well beyond their years. Washington even refutes the notion that the 20-year-old Lafayette is a mere boy, given that by that point he had already proven himself to be extremely intelligent and mature for his age.
  • The fact that this show introduced the idea that slavery didn't know race in Revolutionary times, with Henri's backstory involving him ending up enslaved on a ship after the deaths of his parents on the trip to America until Moses and James rescued him.
  • James Armistead is made of this, volunteering his services to the Americans with the permission of his master in spying on the British. He is first assigned to Benedict Arnold's entourage, and with his help the Americans under Lafayette's command almost capture the traitorous general. Not suspecting his involvement, Arnold assigns him to serve General Lord Cornwallis, which leads us to this exchange when James returns to Lafayette:
    James: General Cornwallis knows I am a spy.
    Lafayette: (Pauses) Then forgive me James, but how is it you are still alive?
    Lafayette: Cornwallis thinks you are working for him? James, you are brilliant! (Hugs him)
    • After the battle of Yorktown is won, James meets his two opposing commanders once again:
    Lafayette: You will be free, James.
    James: When I am, I shall be known as James Lafayette.
    Cornwallis: (Walks in and sees James, completely baffled) You are with the Americans?
    James: Yes sir. I am an American.
    Cornwallis: (Sits down) I despise the colonies.