John Adams: Season 1, Episode 2

Independence (16 Mar. 2008)

TV Episode  |  TV-MA  |   |  Biography, Drama, History
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Ratings: 8.7/10 from 340 users  
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After the Battles of Lexington and Concord Adams becomes the voice for independence at the Constitutional Convention in Philadelphia.



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After viewing the dead and wounded on the battlefield of Concord, John Adams takes up the cause of Independence. Frustrated by the caution of delegates from colonies that do not share Massachusetts plight, the inexperienced politician is abrasive, obnoxious and even insulting. But with the advice of Abigail and Ben Franklin he soon learns he has allies, to cultivate them, to bide his time and to seize opportunities. Following John's nomination, George Washington takes charge of the army and enjoys successes despite supply shortages. Back at home, Abigail and the children risk supporting the war effort in most tangible ways but find Mother Nature more threatening. Written by David Foss

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16 March 2008 (USA)  »

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Did You Know?


In the Congress scenes, North Carolina is never seen and the sound of the mystery voice is different from the others, as if it was added later. See more »


General George Washington is shown wearing the blue and buff uniform of the style that he would wear throughout the war. However, the style of the collar on this particular coat is not historically accurate in that the two corners of the collar on the uniform should have been either buttoned to the top of the lapels or capable of being buttoned down (which would be evinced by two clearly visible button holes in the collar, one at each corner). While no regimental coat belonging to George Washington from the time of the revolution is known to exist today, every single artist who personally observed Washington during the war painted him in his uniform with the collar either actually buttoned down or capable of being buttoned to the lapel tops. Further, the buttoned down collar was the style fashionable and in common use by American soldiers and officers during the mid-late 1770s. See more »


John Dickinson: Gentlemen. The consequences involved in the motion now lying before us are of such magnitude that I tremble at the oppressive honor of sharing in its determination. My conduct this day, I expect, will give the finishing blow to my once great and now much-diminished popularity. Yet I had rather forfeit popularity forever than vote away the blood and happiness of my countrymen. Independence will not strengthen us by one man! Nor by the least supply. But it may expose our soldiers to additional ...
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Version of 1776 (1972) See more »


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Written by Rob Lane
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21 July 2009 | by (New York) – See all my reviews

After the battle of Concord, John Adams decides to join the movement for independence. By this time he was totally convinced that was the right path to take. In his many meetings with the principals of the cause in Massachussets, he is elected as a delegate to the Continental Congress to be held in Philadelphia. This could only mean another separation from Abigail and his children, who are left behind to fend for themselves.

The matter of agreement proved to be a hard choice to make because of the division within the colonies. Thus, the North was in agreement as to be separated from the cruel tyranny of England, and a King who was believed to be a selfish man only interested in whatever riches he could get from America.

The Congress was not exactly a total agreement of the minds. John Adams, and the delegates from the Northern Colonies, find themselves having to convince the people from the other Southern colonies, as they wanted to stay as part as England in the New World. John Adams had to fight hard, especially against John Dickinson, a delegate from Pennsylvania, and Edward Rutledge, of South Carolina. During the process, he cultivated the friendship of Benjamin Franklin, and Thomas Jefferson, both of independent minds. John Adams is instrumental in suggesting, and getting the approval of George Washington to lead the revolutionary forces, a wise decision.

In the meantime, Abigail and the children see the horrors of war right in their own backyard. They must fight disease and loneliness as John is kept away in Philadelphia. After the agreement for the motion of freedom, the Declaration of Independence is read to the general public in the city of Brotherly Love.

Another excitement chapter, the second in the series of the adaptation of David McCullough's novel. Again, Tom Hooper directs with great style.

The cast reads like the Who's Who in the American and English film and theater rosters. Paul Giamatti does a fine take on John Adams, as well as Laura Linney, who plays Abigail. Tom Wilkinson is Benjamin Franklin; Danny Huston is seen as Sam Adams. Stephen Dillane appears as Thomas Jefferson. The excellent Zeljko Ivanek makes a case for his John Dickinson, a reactionary man who did not see eye to eye with Adams. Clancy O'Connor has good moments as Edward Rutledge.

A moving episode about American history.

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Amazing series, minus one thing. keenvj
Other Figures in history that ought to get the 'John Adams Treatment' Writerchamp13
Was George Washington a jackass? homer_it
Jefferson Predicted the Civil War skybailey16
Good, but jarring too doughdee222
Phenominal casting, except for... mrbsays
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