- "Mama, Look Sharp" is one of the most gut-wrenching songs ever performed on Broadway.
Them soldiers, they fired. Oh ma, did we runBut then we turned round and the battle begunThen I went under, oh ma, am I done?Hey, hey, momma look sharp...
- Adams' realization that he'll have to allow slavery in America to avoid a civil war. And in real life, he (or rather, his cousin Sam) actually did predict that one was inevitable within a hundred years, which wasn't included in the play because people wouldn't believe it.
- A more minor one in "Yours, Yours, Yours." Adams, seeing Jefferson with Martha, is reminded of how far he is from Abigail, and he's clearly trying to stave off the loneliness when he invites Franklin to dinner and is rebuffed because Franklin has a date. Then he goes into "Yours, Yours, Yours" with Abby where they both lament their separation from each other with such lines as "I've forgotten the feel of your hand." It's made more poignant by the fact that the most sentimental lines were lifted directly from John and Abigail's real letters to each other. More restrained they may be in expression, but there's no doubt how much they love each other.
- Specific example of the above, Abigail really did ask John to write with more 'sentimental effusion,' meaning she wanted him to be more open and loving in his language. The historical Adams often refrained from such because he was afraid of his letters being intercepted.
- Write to me with sentimental effusionLet me revel in romantic illusion
- The Adams' exchange just before "Is Anybody There", where John tells Abigail just how miserable he is.
- But lately, I find that I reek with miscontentment. It fills my throat, and it floods my brain. Sometimes, I fear there is no longer a dream but... only the discontentment.
- Thomson reads General Washington's last letter, before the Battle of New Brunswick
- As I write these words, the enemy is plainly in sight beyond the river, and I begin to notice that many of us are lads under fifteen and old men, none of whom can truly be called soldiers. How it will end, only providence can direct. (He starts breaking down in tears) But dear God, what brave men... I shall lose... before this business... ends.