John Adams
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Quotes for
John Adams (Character)
from "John Adams" (2008)

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1776 (1972)
[Standing awkwardly nearby as Jefferson and Martha embrace]
John Adams: Jefferson, kindly introduce me to your wife.
John Adams: She is your wife, isn't she?
Dr. Benjamin Franklin: Of course she is. Look at the way they fit.

John Dickinson: Mr. Jefferson, Mr. Lee, Mr. Hopkins, Dr. Franklin, why have you joined this... incendiary little man, this BOSTON radical? This demagogue, this MADMAN?
John Adams: Are you calling me a madman, you, you... you FRIBBLE!
Dr. Benjamin Franklin: Easy John.
John Adams: You cool, considerate men. You hang to the rear on every issue so that if we should go under, you'll still remain afloat!
John Dickinson: Are you calling me a coward?
John Adams: Yes... coward!
John Dickinson: Madman!
John Adams: Landlord!
John Dickinson: LAWYER!
[a brawl breaks out]

Abigail: I never asked for more. After all, I am Mrs. John Adams and that's quite enough for one lifetime.
John Adams: Is it, Abby?
Abigail: Well, think of it, John, to be married to the man who is always the first in line to be hanged!

John Adams: A second flood, a simple famine, plagues of locusts everywhere, or a cataclysmic earthquake, I'd accept with some despair. But no, You sent us Congress! Good God, Sir, was that fair?

[Jefferson's wife visits, and they retire behind closed doors]
John Adams: Good God, you don't mean... they're not going to...? In the middle of the afternoon?
Dr. Benjamin Franklin: Not everybody's from Boston, John!

Dr. Benjamin Franklin: Oh John, you can dance!
John Adams: We still do a few things in Boston, Franklin.

John Adams: I have come to the conclusion that one useless man is called a disgrace; that two are called a law firm, and that three or more become a Congress! And by God, I have had this Congress! For ten years, King George and his Parliament have gulled, cullied, and diddled these colonies with their illegal taxes! Stamp Acts, Townshend Acts, Sugar Acts, Tea Acts! And when we dared stand up like men, they have stopped our trade, seized our ships, blockaded our ports, burned our towns, and spilled our BLOOD! And still, this Congress refuses to grant ANY of my proposals on independence, even so much as the courtesty of open debate! Good God, what in hell are you waiting for?

John Adams: At a stage in life when other men prosper, I'm reduced to living in Philadelphia.

John Adams: Well, Franklin, where's that idiot Lee? Is he back yet? I don't see him.
Dr. Benjamin Franklin: Softly, John, your voice is hurting my foot.
John Adams: One more day, Franklin. Then I shall propose to Congress. That strutting popinjay was so damn sure of himself. He's had time to come back with a dozen proposals by now!

[Adams has barged into Jefferson's room, accompanied by Franklin, to read the results of Jefferson's work on the Declaration of Independence]
John Adams: Well, is it written yet? Well, you've had a whole week, man. Is it done? Can I SEE IT?
[with his violin bow, Jefferson picks up and hands Adams a discarded draft]
John Adams: "There comes a time in the lives of men when it becomes necessary to advance from that subordination in which they have hitherto rem-"... This is terrible. Where's the rest of it?
[Jefferson indicates dozens of rejected drafts strewn crumpled about his floor]
John Adams: Do you mean to say that it is not yet finished?
Thomas Jefferson: No, sir. I mean to say that it's not yet begun.
John Adams: Good god! A whole week! The entire earth was created in a week!
[Jefferson turns to face him]
Thomas Jefferson: Someday, you must tell me how you did it.
John Adams: Disgusting.

Dr. Benjamin Franklin: John, really. You talk as if independence were the rule. It's never been done before. No colony has ever broken from the parent stem in the history of the world.
John Adams: Damn it, Franklin! You make us sound treasonous.
Dr. Benjamin Franklin: Do I? Treason, eh?
Dr. Benjamin Franklin: Treason is a charge invented by winners as an excuse for hanging the losers.
John Adams: [scoffs] I have more to do than stand here listening to you quote yourself.
Dr. Benjamin Franklin: No, that was a new one.

Thomson: If any be opposed to the resolution on independence as proposed by the Colony of Virginia signify by saying...
John Adams: Mr. President?
Thomson: Oh, for heaven's sake, let me get through it once.

[Adams tries to persuade Jefferson to stay in Philadelphia and write the Declaration of Independence rather than return home to Virginia]
Thomas Jefferson: Mr. Adams, I beg of you. I have not seen my wife these past six months!
John Adams: [quotes from memory] 'And we solemly declare that we will preserve our liberties, being with one mind resolved to die free men rather than to live slaves.' Thomas Jefferson "On the Necessity of Taking Up Arms," 1775. Magnificent! Why, you write ten times better than any man in Congress. Including me. For a man of only thirty-three years, you have a happy talent of composition and a remarkable felicity of expression. Now then, sir... will you be a patriot? Or a lover?
Thomas Jefferson: [thinks it over, then] A lover.

John Adams: God help us.
Dr. Benjamin Franklin: Oh, he will, John. He will.

John Adams: This is a revolution, dammit! We're going to have to offend SOMEbody!

[as they stand on the sidewalk below Jefferson's apartment]
John Adams: This is positively indecent!
Dr. Benjamin Franklin: Oh, John, they're young and they're in love.
John Adams: Not them, Franklin. Us! Standing out here, waiting for them to... I mean, what will people think?
Dr. Benjamin Franklin: Don't worry, John. The history books will clean it up.
John 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.
Dr. Benjamin Franklin: I like it.

Samuel Chase: [to Adams, referring to the Declaration] Answer straight: what would be its purpose?
John Adams: [lost for words] Yes, well...
[Jefferson stands up]
Thomas Jefferson: [slowly and deliberately] To place before mankind the common sense of the subject, in terms so plain and firm as to command their assent.

John Adams: [singing in the empty hall] Is anybody there?... Does anybody care?... Does anybody see... what I see?
Dr. Lyman Hall: Yes, Mr. Adams, I do.
John Adams: Dr. Hall, I didn't know anyone was...
Dr. Lyman Hall: I'm sorry if I startled you. I couldn't sleep. In trying to resolve my dilemma I remembered something I'd once read, "that a representative owes the People not only his industry, but his judgment, and he betrays them if he sacrifices it to their opinion."
[He smiles]
Dr. Lyman Hall: It was written by Edmund Burke, a member of the British Parliament.
[He walks to the tally board and changes his 'nay' vote to 'yea' on independence]

Dr. Benjamin Franklin: Don't worry, John, the history books will clean it up.
John Adams: Hmm... Well, I'll never appear 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 all by themselves.
Dr. Benjamin Franklin: [pondering] I like it.

John Adams: Now you'll write it, Mr. J.
Thomas Jefferson: Who will make me, Mr. A?
John Adams: I.
Thomas Jefferson: You?
John Adams: Yes!
[Jefferson steps up, towering over Adams, and looks down at him]
Thomas Jefferson: How?
[tapping his chest with the quill pen]
John Adams: By physical force, if necessary.

[Adams and Frankline wait expectantly on the street below Jefferson's apartment]
John Adams: [reading a note tossed down from Jefferson] "Dear Mr. Adams, I am taking my wife back to bed. Kindly go away. Your obedient, T. Jefferson." Incredible!
Dr. Benjamin Franklin: [chuckles] You know, perhaps I should have written the Declaration. At my age there's little doubt that the pen is mightier than the sword.

[speaking of Congress]
John Adams: Fat George has declared us in rebellion! Why in bloody hell can't they?

[John Adams volunteers to visit New Brunswick after a report is given of Washington's soldiers being afflicted with venereal disease and alcoholism]
John Adams: Wake up, Franklin, you're going to New Brunswick!
Dr. Benjamin Franklin: [Half asleep] Like hell I am. What for?
Hopkins: The whoring and the drinking!
[Franklin gets up and marches off right behind Adams]

Richard Henry Lee: You've come to the one colony that can get job done: Virginia. The land that gave us our glorious commander in chief, George Washington, will now give the congress its proposal on independence. Where Virginia goes the south is bound to follow. And where the south goes, the middle colonies go! Gentlemen, a salute to Virginia, the mother of American independence!
John Adams: Incredible, we're free and he hasn't even left yet!

John Adams: They won't be happy until they remove one of the F's from Jefferson's name!

Joseph Hewes: Mr. Jefferson, nowhere do you mention deep sea fishing rights.
[Everyone in Congress groans in frustration]
John Adams: Oh good God! Fishing rights? How long is this piddling to go on? We have been here for three solid days! We have endured, by my count, more than eighty-five separate changes and the removal of close to four hundred words. Now, would you whip it and beat it 'til you break its spirit? I tell you, that document is a masterful expression of the American mind!

[repeated line]
John Adams: Oh, good God.

Dr. Benjamin Franklin: If Sam Adams can't put up with you, no one can.
John Adams: You're getting at something.
Dr. Benjamin Franklin: How can you tell?

John Adams: Good God, consider yourselves fortunate that you have John Adams to abuse, for no sane man would tolerate it!

Edward Rutledge: [In the final vote for Independence, Rutledge wants the slavery clause removed from the Declaration, or else he will vote against independence] Well, Mr. Adams?
John Adams: Well, Mr. Rutledge.
Edward Rutledge: [stands] Mr. Adams, you must believe that I *will* do what I promised to do.
John Adams: [stands and approaches him] What is it you want, Rutledge?
Edward Rutledge: Remove the offending passage from your Declaration.
John Adams: If we did that, we would be guilty of what we ourselves are rebelling against.
Edward Rutledge: Nevertheless... remove it, or South Carolina will bury, now and forever, your dream of independence.
Dr. Benjamin Franklin: John? I beg you consider what you're doing.
John Adams: Mark me, Franklin... if we give in on this issue, posterity will never forgive us.
Dr. Benjamin Franklin: That's probably true, but we won't hear a thing, we'll be long gone. Besides, what would posterity think we were? Demi-gods? We're men, no more no less, trying to get a nation started against greater odds than a more generous God would have allowed. First things first, John. Independence; America. If we don't secure that, what difference will the rest make?
John Adams: [long pause] Jefferson, say something.
Thomas Jefferson: What else is there to do?
John Adams: Well, man, you're the one that wrote it.
Thomas Jefferson: I *wrote* ALL of it, Mr. Adams.
[stands and goes to the Declaration, crosses out the clause]
John Adams: [snatches the paper from Jefferson and takes it to Rutledge] There you are, Rutlege, you have your slavery; little good may it do you, now VOTE, damn you!
Edward Rutledge: [takes the paper] Mr. President, the fair colony of South Carolina...
[looks at Adams]
Edward Rutledge: ... says yea.

Thomas Jefferson: They're reading the Declaration.
John Adams: Good God. How far have they gotten?
Thomas Jefferson: "... to render the Military independent of and superior to the Civil Power."
[John opens the door to the Chamber]
Thomson: "... independent of and superior to-"
[John closes the door]

John Adams: Oh, Abigail, Abigail, I have such a desire to knock heads together!

Edward Rutledge: Mr. Adams, perhaps you could clear up something for me. After we have achieved independence, who do you propose would govern in South Carolina?
John Adams: The people, of course.
Edward Rutledge: Which people, sir? The people of South Carolina, or the people of Massachusetts?
Hopkins: Ah, why don't you admit it, Neddy? You're against independence now and you always will be.
Col. Thomas McKean: [heavy sigh] Aye.
Edward Rutledge: Now, gentlemen, you refuse to understand us. We desire independence, yes. For South Carolina. That is our country. And as such, we don't wish to belong to anyone. Not to England, and not to you.
John Adams: We intend to have one nation, Rutledge.
Edward Rutledge: A nation of sovereign states, Mr. Adams. United for our mutual protection, but... separate for our individual pursuits. Now, that is what we have understood it to be. And that is what we will support.
[Adams starts to speak]
Edward Rutledge: As soon as everyone supports it.
James Wilson: [standing up] Well, there you are, Mr. Adams. You must see that we need time. Time to make certain who we are and where we stand in regard to one another. For if we do not determine the nature of the beast before we set it free, it will end by consuming us all.
John Adams: For once in your life, Wilson... take a chance. I say the time is now. It may never come again.

John Adams: Franklin, where in God's name have you been?
Dr. Benjamin Franklin: Right here, John, being preserved for posterity. Do you like it?
[John walks around to look at the painting]
John Adams: It stinks.
Dr. Benjamin Franklin: As ever, the soul of tact.
John Adams: Well, the man's no Botticelli.
Dr. Benjamin Franklin: And the subject's no Venus.
John Adams: Franklin, where were you when I needed you? You should have heard what I suffered in there.
Dr. Benjamin Franklin: Oh, I heard, all right. Along with the rest of Philadelphia. Lord, your voice is piercing, John.
John Adams: Well, I just wish to Heaven my arguments were.

John Adams: Look at him, Franklin. Virginia's most famous lover!
Thomas Jefferson: [not having seen his wife in six months] Virginia abstains.

John Adams: Now, will you be a lover or a patriot?
Thomas Jefferson: A lover.
John Adams: No!
Thomas Jefferson: But I burn, Mr. A.
John Adams: [emphasized] So do I, Mr. J!
Thomas Jefferson: [astonished] You?
Roger Sherman: [astonished] You do?
Dr. Benjamin Franklin: [astonished] John!
Robert Livingston: [Pondering] Who'd have thought it?

Abigail: [sung] Compliments of the Concord Ladies Coffee Club, / And the Sisterhood of the Truro Synagogue, / And the Friday Evening Baptist Sewing Circle, / And the Holy Christian Sisters of St. Claire. / All for you, John. / I am as I ever was and ever shall be./ Yours, yours, yours!
John Adams: [spoken] Abigail, what's in these kegs?
Abigail: [sung] Saltpetre, John!

John Adams: [singing] 'For I have crossed the Rubicon, let the bridge be burned behind me, come what may, come what may!
John Adams: Commitment!

John Adams: Tell me, Mr. Thomson, out of curiosity. Do you stand with Mr. Dickinson, or do you stand with me?
Thomson: I stand with the General. Well, lately, I've had the oddest feeling that he's been writing to me.
Thomson: [reading from Washington's letter] I have been in expectation of receiving a reply on the subject of my last fifteen dispatches. Is anybody there? Does anybody care? Does anybody care?

Dr. Benjamin Franklin: We've no choice, John. The slavery clause has got to go.
John Adams: [stunned] Franklin, what are you saying?
Dr. Benjamin Franklin: It's a luxury we can't afford.
John Adams: [pause, then] 'Luxury?' A half million souls in chains... and Dr. Franklin calls it a 'luxury!' Maybe you should have walked out with the South!
Dr. Benjamin Franklin: [dangerous] You forget yourself sir. I founded the FIRST anti-slavery society on this continent.
John Adams: Oh, don't wave your credentials at me! Maybe it's time you had them renewed!
Dr. Benjamin Franklin: [angrily] The issue here is independence! Maybe you have forgotten that fact, but I have not! How DARE you jeopardize our cause, when we've come so far? These men, no matter how much we may disagree with them, are not ribbon clerks to be ordered about - they are proud, accomplished men, the cream of their colonies. And whether you like them or not, they and the people they represent will be part of this new nation that YOU hope to create. Now, either learn how to live with them, or pack up and go home!
[pause, then]
Dr. Benjamin Franklin: In any case, stop acting like a Boston fishwife.

John Adams: Mr. Jefferson? It so happens that the word is UN-alienable, not IN-alienable.
Thomas Jefferson: I'm sorry, Mr. Adams, but "Inalienable" is correct.
John Adams: I happen to be a Harvard graduate, Mr. Jefferson.
Thomas Jefferson: Well, I attended William & Mary.
Hancock: Mr. Jefferson, will you concede to Mr. Adams' request?
Thomas Jefferson: No, sir, I will not.
John Adams: Oh, very well, I withdraw it!
Dr. Benjamin Franklin: Oh, good for you, John!
John Adams: I'll speak to the printer about it later.

[debating on America's national bird]
John Adams: The eagle.
Thomas Jefferson: The dove.
Dr. Benjamin Franklin: The turkey.
John Adams: The eagle.
Thomas Jefferson: The dove.
John Adams: The eagle!
Thomas Jefferson: [considers] The eagle.
Dr. Benjamin Franklin: The turkey.
John Adams: The eagle is a majestic bird!
Dr. Benjamin Franklin: The eagle is a scavenger, a thief and coward. A symbol of over ten centuries of European mischief.
John Adams: [confused] The turkey?
Dr. Benjamin Franklin: A truly noble bird. Native American, a source of sustenance to our original settlers, and an incredibly brave fellow who wouldn't flinch from attacking a whole regiment of Englishmen single-handedly! Therefore, the national bird of America is going to be...
John Adams: [insistently] The eagle!
Dr. Benjamin Franklin: The eagle.

John Adams: As chairman of the war committee, I can assure you, never have training and discipline gone more smoothly! Never have soldiers been more cheerful! Never have...
[Washington's courier enters with a new message]
John Adams: Oh, good God!

John Adams: Abigail, I'm very lonely.
Abigail: Are you, John? As long as you're sending for wives, why not send for your own?
John Adams: Oh, don't be unreasonable, Madam!
Abigail: Oh, now I'm unreasonable? You must add that to your list.
John Adams: List? What list?
Abigail: The catalogue of my faults you included in your last letter.
John Adams: They were fondly intended, Madam!
Abigail: Indeed? That I play at cards badly?
John Adams: An endearment.
Abigail: That my posture is crooked?
John Adams: A complement.
Abigail: That I read, talk and think too much?
John Adams: An irony.
Abigail: That I am pigeon-toed?
John Adams: Ah, well there you have me. I'm afraid you are pigeon toed.

George Read: Among your charges against the king, Mr. Jefferson, you accuse him of depriving us of the benefits of trial by jury. This is untrue, sir. In Delaware we have always had trial by jury.
John Adams: In Massachusetts we have not.
George Read: Well, then I suggest that the words "In many cases" be added.

Dr. Josiah Bartlett: Mr. Jefferson, I beg you to remember that we still have friends in England. I see no purpose in antagonizing them with such phrases as "unfeeling brethren" and "enemies at war." Our quarrel is with the British king, not the British people.
John Adams: Oh, be sensible Bartlett, remove those phrases and the entire paragraph becomes meaningless! And it so happens that it's one of the most stirring and poetic of any passage in the entire document.
Dr. Josiah Bartlett: We're a congress, Mr. Adams, not a literary society. I ask that the entire paragraph be stricken.
Hancock: Mr. Jefferson?
[Jefferson nods]
John Adams: Good God, Jefferson when are you going to speak up for your own work?
Thomas Jefferson: I had hoped that the work would speak for itself.

[on the anti-slavery clause]
John Adams: That little paper there deals with freedom for Americans!
Edward Rutledge: Oh, really. Mr. Adams is now calling our black slaves "Americans!" Are they, now?
John Adams: Yes, they are. They are people, and they are here. If there's any other requirement, I haven't heard it.
Edward Rutledge: They are here, yes, but they are not people sir, they are property.
Thomas Jefferson: No, sir they are people who are being treated as property! I tell you, the rights of human nature are deeply wounded by this infamous practice!
Edward Rutledge: Then see to your own wounds Mr. Jefferson, for you are a practitioner are you not?
Thomas Jefferson: I have already resolved to release my slaves.
Edward Rutledge: Oh. Then I'm sorry, for you've also resolved the ruination of your own personal economy.
John Adams: Economy. Always economy. There's more to this than a filthy purse-string, Rutledge! It is an offense against man and God!
Hopkins: It's a stinking business, Eddie, a stinking business!
Edward Rutledge: Is it really now, Mr. Hopkins? Then what's that I smell floating down from the North? Could it be the aroma of hy-pocrisy? For who holds the other end of that filthy purse-string, Mr. Adams? Our northern brethren are feeling a bit tender toward our black slaves. They don't keep slaves! Oh, no. But they are willing to be considerable carriers of slaves to others. They're willin'! For the shillin'.

John Adams: Thomas, I want you to ride back to Delaware and bring back Caesar.
Col. Thomas McKean: John, are ya mad? It's eighty miles, and he's a dyin' man...
John Adams: No, he's a patriot!
Col. Thomas McKean: John, what good will it do? The South's done us in...
John Adams: And suppose they change their minds! Can we get Delaware without Rodney?
Col. Thomas McKean: Good God, what a bastardly bunch we are.

John Adams: Why, Abby? You must tell me what it is. I've always been dissatisfied, I know that. But lately I find that I reek of discontentment. It fills my throat, and it floods my brain. And sometimes I fear there is no longer a dream, but only the discontentment.
Abigail: Oh, John, can you really know so little about yourself? And can you really think so little of me that you believe I'd marry the man you've described?

John Hancock: The principles of independence have no greater advocate in Congress than its president. And that is why I must join those who vote for unanimity.
John Adams: Good God, John! What are you doing? You've sunk us!
John Hancock: Now, hear me out! Don't you see that any colony who opposes independence will be forced to fight on the side of England? That we'll be setting brother against brother. That our new nation will carry as its emblem the mark of Cain. I can see no other way. Either we all walk together, or together we must stay where we are.
John Adams: [throwing up his arm in frustration] The man's from Massachusetts.

John Hancock: I'm still from Massachusetts, John. You know where I stand. I'll do whatever you say.
John Adams: No. No, you're the president of Congress. You're a fair man, Hancock. Stay that way.

John Adams: [the vote on independence has come down to James Wilson] It would be a pity for a man who's handed down hundreds of wise decisions from the bench to be remembered only for the one unwise decision he made in Congress.

John Adams: Damn it, Franklin, we're at war.
Dr. Benjamin Franklin: To defend ourselves, nothing more. We expressed our displeasure, the English moved against us, and we in turn have resisted. Now our fellow Congressmen want to effect a reconciliation. Before it *becomes* a war.
John Adams: Reconciliation, my ass! The people want independence!
Dr. Benjamin Franklin: The people have read Mr. Paine's "Common Sense". I doubt very much the Congress has.
John Adams: Well, that's true.
Dr. Benjamin Franklin: John, why don't you give it up? Nobody listens to you; you're obnoxious and disliked.

[Adams, Franklin, and Jefferson wait outside the Chamber, while Thomson is reading the Declaration to Congress]
John Adams: There's nothing to fear; it's a masterpiece. I'm to be congratulated.
Dr. Benjamin Franklin: [surprised] You?
John Adams: [waving at Jefferson] For making him write it.

[Adams and Franklin arrive at Jefferson's apartment to check the status of the Declaration, and hear him playing his violin instead]
John Adams: What is that racket?
Dr. Benjamin Franklin: It's the latest thing from Europe, John. It's called music.
John Adams: I came here expecting to hear a pen scratching, not a bow.

John Adams: It would be a pity for a man who's handed down hundreds of wise decisions from the bench to be remembered for the one unwise decision he made in Congress.

[first lines]
McNair: [Adams stands with the Liberty Bell, lost in thought] Mr. Adams? Mr. Adams? Mr. Adams! Well, there you are. Didn't you hear me calling, Mr. Adams? You could have shouted down something, save me climbing up four flights. A man that likes to talk as much as you do, I think...
[Adams turns and gives McNair a hard stare]
McNair: What do you keep coming up here for, Mr. Adams? Afraid someone's gonna steal our bell?
[he chortles]
McNair: Well, no worry. Been here more than fourteen years and it ain't been carried off once.
[he laughs, but Adams is not in the mood]
McNair: You'd better get yourself back down to Congress, Mr. Adams. They're getting ready to vote, and they said they couldn't settle such an important question without Massachusetts being there.
John Adams: [sarcastic] I can just imagine. All right, what burning issue are we voting on this time?
McNair: On whether or not to grant General Washington's request that all members of the Rhode Island militia be required to wear matching uniforms.
John Adams: Oh, good god.

Dr. Benjamin Franklin: [watching Martha, mesmerized] Oh, John, look at her. Just look at her.
John Adams: Oh, I am.
Dr. Benjamin Franklin: She's even more magnificent than I remember. Of course, we didn't see much of her front last night.

John Adams: Mark me, Franklin, if we give in on this issue, posterity will never forgive us.
Dr. Benjamin Franklin: That's probably true, but we won't hear a thing, we'll be long gone. Besides, what will posterity think we were, demigods? We're men, no more, no less, trying to get a nation started against greater odds than a more generous god would have allowed. First things first, John, Independence. America. If we don't secure that, what difference will the rest make?

"John Adams: Unnecessary War (#1.6)" (2008)
John Adams: A mob is no less a mob because they are with you.

[as John Adams leaves the White House for the last time, he notices the people in the same carriage as him are staring at him]
John Adams: Stop gawking. I'm plain John Adams. Just an ordinary citizen. Same as yourselves.

Abigail Adams: He's dead, John. Our son is dead. Poor poor unhappy man.
John Adams: Let silence reign over his tomb... forever.

John Adams: Now, your immediate resignations will be accepted, gentlemen!
Timothy Pickering: I don't feel it my duty to resign.
John Adams: Oh? Excellent. Excellent. Then you leave me the far more satisfying remedy of removing you from office.

[Inside the White House, John and Abigail Adams survey a portrait of the late former president George Washington]
John Adams: Is the old man welcoming us or showing us the way out?

John Adams: I am determined to control events, not be controlled by them.

Abigail Adams: [reading The Federalist Papers] "The reign of Mr. Adams has hitherto been one continued tempest of malignant passions. As president, he has never opened his lips without threatening or scolding. He is a repulsive pedant, a gross hypocrite, one of the most egregious fools upon the continent, a hideous, hermaphroditical character which has neither the force and firmness of a man, nor the gentleness and sensibility of a woman."
John Adams: It is beneath the President of the United States to take any notice of insinuations.
Abigail Adams: In any other country, such filth would have been silenced long ago.
John Adams: Mr. Hamilton takes equal pains to ensure that he Federalist Paper are filled with scurrilous attacks on Thomas Jefferson and his party.
Abigail Adams: Think of all the vile falsehoods written about you-continue to be written about you. You may have patiently borne all the slanders, but I have not. "Before it is too late to retrieve our deranged affairs-"
John Adams: For goodness sake.
Abigail Adams: "-the people must demand the immediate resignation of old, querulous, bald, blind, crippled, toothless Adams."
[long pause]
John Adams: I'm not crippled.
Abigail Adams: I find no amusement in this. Waste of paper and ink.
John Adams: Waste of time reading it, Abigail. Put it down.
Abigail Adams: They would not say such a thing about Washington. They would not call George Washington hermaphroditical!
John Adams: They could call him toothless, though.
[John and Abigail laugh]

"John Adams: Unite or Die (#1.5)" (2008)
John Adams: [During an argument about monarchism] Where are you going?
Abigail Adams: [Leaving the room] We'll finish this conversation when you've regained your senses.
John Adams: I, uh... I was not aware that I have lost them.
Abigail Adams: Well, you have.

John Adams: [Excusing himself from the cabinet room] Mr. President.
George Washington: Mr. President and nothing more.

John Adams: [to John Quincy as he leaves for Europe] You have more prudence at 27 than your father at 58. All my hopes are in you, both for our family and our country. Do not disappoint me.

"John Adams: Independence (#1.2)" (2008)
John Adams: [to his son as he manually mixes the ingredients for fertilizer] Manure is an art, and I consider myself an accomplished arist.

John Adams: Do you not believe in saying what you think?
Benjamin Franklin: No, I'm very much against it. Thinking aloud is a habit responsible for much of mankind's misery.

John Adams: General Warren is fallen at Bunker Hill. Shot through the head. Bayoneted and stripped of his clothes. I knew him, gentlemen. He was my physician. The full measure of british atrocity is too terrible to relate. "400 patriots dead." Not professional soldiers, ordinary citizens of Massachusetts who willingly gave their lives to defend what was rightfully theirs. Their liberty. But they took with them more than 1,000 british soldiers and 100 of their officers. If this congress does not support the Massachusetts militia, it could very well dissolve, gentlemen! Should that happen... Should that happen, we will be left defenseless, gentlemen. I move that the congress adopt the Massachusetts militia immediately!
John Dickinson: You are asking us to form an army, Mr. Adams. A force acting not for a single colony, but all 13! Now there's not a man here present who does not mourn the loss of the brave men of Massachusetts. But it is at such times that caution must prevail. It may be weeks before our last petion reaches the King, many weeks more before we may hope for a reply. While we await answer, we must avoid any escalation of the hostilities between us.
John Adams: The situation is perilous! What is required now is one able man to build and to lead this new continental army.
Edward Rutledge: And who do you propose of the Massachusetts delegates should lead this force?
John Dickinson: Gentlemen, we move too quickly. We have not yet resolved the question of any continental army, much less who is to lead it.
John Adams: I have but one gentleman in mind, known to all of us. Mr. President, I propose as commander in chief our most honorable and esteemed delegate... The good gentleman from Virginia, Colonel George Washington.

"John Adams: Reunion (#1.4)" (2008)
John Adams: [before King George III; softly] The United States of America...
John Adams: [harder] The United States of America have appointed me Minister plenipotentiary to your Majesty. I think myself more fortunate than all of my fellow citizens in having the distinguishing honor, to be the first to stand in your Majesty's presences in a diplomatic character. I shall esteem myself the happiest of men if I can be instrumental in restoring the confidence and affection, or in better words the good old nature and good old humour, between peoples who, though separated by an ocean and under different governments, have the same language, same religion and kindred blood.
[steps forward]
John Adams: I beg your Majesty's permission to add that, though I have been before entrusted by my country, it was never in my whole life in a manner more agreeable to myself.

King George III: The circumstances of this audience are so extraordinary, the language you have now held is so extremely proper and the feelings you have discovered so justly adapted to the occasion, that I not only receive with pleasure the assurance of the friendly disposition of the United States, but that I am very glad that the choice has fallen on you to be their Minister.
King George III: I will be very frank with you: I was the *last* to consent to separation. But the separation having been made and having become inevitable, I have always said, as I say now, that I would be the first to meet the friendship of the United States as an independent power.
John Adams: [emotionally touched] Thank you, your Majesty.
[a brief exchange of smiles ensues]

King George III: There is an opinion among some people, Mr. Adams, that you are not the most attached of all your countrymen to the manners of France?
John Adams: [laughs] Yes, well, I avow to Your Majesty, that I have no attachment to any country but my own.
King George III: An honest man will never have any other.

"John Adams: Don't Tread on Me (#1.3)" (2008)
John Adams: [Referring to Quincy] I shall rely on your judgment as to a proper school for him.
Benjamin Franklin: Why, all of Paris is school, Master Adams, the young man need only avail himself of the lessons.

Young John Quincy Adams: [John Quincy is preparing to travel to Russia as Francis Dana's secretary] Will it be very cold there, Father?
John Adams: Good heavens, no. Not for a Massachusetts man.

John Adams: I must study politics and war... so that my sons can study mathematics and philosophy, navigation, commerce and agriculture so that their children can study painting, poetry and music.

"John Adams: Join or Die (#1.1)" (2008)
[John Adams has agreed to defend Captain Thomas Preston and the Boston Soldiers]
Samuel Adams: You haven't much of a case, John.
John Adams: Do I not?
Samuel Adams: No Boston Jury will ever vote for aquittal.
John Adams: Thank you for your kind advice, Sam.
Samuel Adams: This is not a time for showing how clever you are, cousin.
[Approaches John and hands him a pamphlet]
Samuel Adams: This is a time for choosing sides.
John Adams: I am for the law, cousin. Is there another side?
Samuel Adams: [shouts to the crowd while John looks at the pamphlet depicting the Boston Massacre] There are those who fight for our rights as natural-born Englishmen, and those that would strip us of those rights!
John Adams: I do not have the luxury of your birth or your purse, Sam, to spend my days fomenting dissension.
[Calls out to Samuel]
John Adams: I intend to prove this colony is governed by law. Whatever you or your Sons of Liberty may say on the matter!
Samuel Adams: We're all Sons of Liberty here.

[John Adams and Samuel Adams watch as a British Customs Official is being tarred and feathered by an angry Boston mob]
John Adams: Do you approve of this?
Samuel Adams: People are hurt when they fight for what is rightfully theirs!
John Adams: Do you approve of brutal and illegal acts to enforce a political principle, Sam? Answer Me That, Can You?

John Adams: [to Sam adams] I am for the law, cousin. Is there another side?

"John Adams: Peacefield (#1.7)" (2008)
John Adams: Old age is dark and loveless.

Madame Racketeer (1932)
Countess von Claudwig: I've got to change my dress.
John Adams: I'm a good hooker-up-the-back.