- "But Mr. Adams."
- Combined moment of Awesome and Funny: "NEVAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAH! NEVAAAAAAAAAAAAH!"
- "Mr. Morris. What in hell goes on in New York?!"
- "Are you calling me a madman, you... you fribble?!" (And the ensuing name-calling and bitch fight.)
- Made funnier by the fact that Adams actually was a lawyer.
- As was Dickinson.
- Also fribble is an actual word along with piddle, twiddle, pish posh, gay, and queer.
- Adams' morose worry that for all his effort to make America free, his contributions would never be known:
: Don't worry, John. The history books will clean it up. Adams
: It doesn't matter. I won't be in the history books anyway, only you. Franklin did this and Franklin did that and Franklin did some other damn thing. Franklin smote the ground and out sprang... George Washington
, fully grown and on his horse. Franklin then electrified him with his miraculous lightning rod and the three of them - Franklin, Washington, and the horse - conducted the entire revolution by themselves.
: I like it.
- Pretty much everything Ben Franklin says. He was pretty much our nation's first Deadpan Snarker.
: (to arriving delegate Dr. Lyman Hall) "What's the matter? Haven't you ever seen a Great Man before?"
: Wake up, Franklin, you're going to New Brunswick! Franklin
: (Half asleep) Like Hell I am. What for? Hopkins
: The whoring and the drinking!
(Franklin gets up and marches off right behind Adams
- For that matter, the New Brunswick dispatch itself.
- "There must be some mistake- I have an aunt who lives in New Brunswick." "You must tell her to keep up the good work!"
- After Adams and Franklin call back at Jefferson's home after his night with his wife
Adams: Standing down here waiting for them to...uuhhhh...well what will people think?
Franklin: Don't worry John, the history books will clean it up.
- Upon learning his son is in jail: "Tell me, why did they arrest the little bastard?"
- Also doubles as a Historical In-Joke as his son actually WAS a bastard (in the parents-are-unmarried sense).
- New York abstains.
- Lee's over-Lee enthusiastic attitude.
- Jefferson's initial failure to write the Declaration.
Adams: Do you mean to tell me that it is not yet finished?
Jefferson: No, sir. I mean to say that it is not yet begun.
Adams: Good God! A whole week! The entire earth was created in a week!
Jefferson: Someday, you must tell me how you did it.
Adams: Disgusting. Look at him, Franklin! Virginia's most famous lover!
Jefferson: Virginia abstains.
- The scene where he's trying to write: writes a little, then crumples up the paper. then he writes even LESS on the next sheet before crumpling it, and finally he just stares at the next one before crumpling it.
Jefferson: Damn the man.
- "A NEETION OF BRRRRBARIANS!?"
- Adams realizing that Jefferson and his wife were having the 18th century equivalent of a booty call:
Adams: You mean they're going to... in the middle of the afternoon??
Franklin: Not everybody's from Boston, John!
- "This is a REVOLUTION, dammit! We're going to have to offend SOMEBODY!"
- Adams finally brings up one last quibble about the Declaration: arguing that the word is "unalienable" not "inalienable":
Jefferson: I'm sorry, Mr. Adams, but "Inalienable" is correct.
Adams: I happen to be a Harvard graduate, Mr. Jefferson. (some laughs from congress)
Jefferson: Well, I attended William & Mary. (more cheers)
Hancock: Mr. Jefferson, will you concede to Mr. Adams' request?
Jefferson (relishing the moment): No, sir, I will not.
Adams (realizes he can't win): Oh, very well, I withdraw it!
Franklin: Oh, good for you, John!
- Adams mutters under his breath he'll talk to the printer later and change it then.
- Adams being a combination of extremely awkward and irritated when Martha arrives and she and Jefferson start kissing so passionately they become oblivious to anything else.
"[pointedly looking away from the scene] Jefferson, kindly introduce me to your wife! [looks back at them] She is your wife, isn't she?"
- The slightly more worldly Franklin, meanwhile, has the kind of "Aww, how sweet" look on his face normally reserved for newborn kittens.
"Of course she is. Look at the way they fit."
- John and Abigail's first song in "Piddle, Twiddle, and Resolve," both of them completely unimpressed with the other's problems:
- In response to the long list of things going wrong at home, Adams replies "Madam, what else is new?"*
- When John demands to know why the ladies aren't making saltpeter, Abigail points out that he didn't tell them how it's done.
By treating potassium chloride with sodium nitrate, of course! Abigail: Oh yes, of course!
- That this is met with Abigail's "more urgent" problem: a pin shortage in Massachusetts, which she demands that John resolve before she sends him saltpeter—and wins.
- "The Lees of Old Virginia." Franklin's wheedling, Lee serving a large helping of ham quite generous-Lee, and Adams as a wholly unwilling participant in the entire number. After it's over, he calls in "the most revolting display I ever witnessed." Not Lee, Franklin, for inciting it.
- It gets even better in the movie: when Lee returns for his unexpected reprise, Adams winds up falling into the fountain.
- The argument over whether the national bird is going to be an eagle, a dove, or a turkey.
- Jefferson sings along with the delegates during "Dear, Mr Adams," happily helping support the other committee members' reasons not to be the drafter, until he realizes that only leaves Adams, who's "obnoxious and disliked," and himself, meaning he couldn't leave for Virginia.
- Sit Down, John: where Congress goes between telling Adams to shut up and trying desperately to ignore him.
Chase: "Someone oughta' ooooooopen up a window!"
Adams: "Will you listen to me and forget the window?!"
Congress: "It's ninety degrees, have mercy, John, please! It's hot as hell, in Philadel-phia!"
- At the beginning:
McNair: Better get yourself back down to Congress, Mister Adams. Gettin' ready to vote, and they say they can't settle such an important question without Massachusetts bein' there.
Adams: <bored> I can just imagine. Alright, what burning issue are we voting on this time?
McNair: <earnest> On whether or not to grant General Washington's request... that all members of the Rhode Island Militia be required to wear matchin' uniforms.