John Adams (2008)
Benjamin Franklin: You are a guest in Philadelphia. Fish, and guests, stink after three days.
John Adams: My thoughts are so clear to me... each one takes perfect shape within my mind. But when I speak, when I offer them to others, they seem to lose all definition.
John Adams: I have seen a queen of France with 18 million livres of diamonds on her person, but I declare that all the charms of her face and figure added to all the glitter of her jewels did not impress me as much as that little shrub right there. Now your mother always said that I never delighted enough in the mundane, but now I find that if I look at even the smallest thing my imagination begins to roam the milky way!
John Dickinson: One colony cannot be allowed to take its sister colonies headlong into the maelstrom of war. Parliament will be eager to call a halt to hostilities, as are we. They will seek conciliation. We must offer them an olive branch. I move this assembly consider a humble and dutiful petition be dispatched to his Majesty, one that includes a plain statement that the colony desires immediate negotiation and accommodation of these unhappy disputes, and that we are willing to enter into measures to achieve that reconciliation.
John Adams: The time for negotiation is past. The actions of the British army at Lexington and Concord speak plainly enough. If we wish to regain our natural-born rights as Englishmen then we must fight for them.
John Dickinson: I have looked for our rights in the laws of nature and can find them only in the laws of political society. I have looked for our rights in the constitution of the English government and found them there! Our rights have been violated, Mr. Adams, that is beyond dispute. We must provide a plan to convince Parliament to restore those rights! Do we wish to become aliens to the mother country? No, gentlemen, we must come to terms with the mother country. No doubt the same ship which carries forth our list of grievances will bring back their redress.
John Adams: Mr. Dickinson. My wife and young children live on the main road to Boston, fewer than five miles from the full might of the british Empire. Should they sit and wait for Gage and his savages to rob them of their home, their possessions, their very lives? No, sir! Powder and artillery are the surest and most infallible conciliatory measures we can adopt!
John Dickinson: If you explode the possibility of peace, Mr. Adams, and I tell you now, you will have blood on your hands!
John Adams: And I tell you, Mr. Dickinson, that to hold out an olive branch to Britain is a measure of gross imbecility.
John Dickinson: If you New England men continue to oppose our measures of reconciliation, you will leave us no choice but to break off from you entirely and carry on the opposition in our own way.
John Adams: I sit in judgment of no man's religion, Mr. Dickinson, but your quaker sensibilities do us a gross disservice, sir. It is one thing to turn the other cheek, but to lie down in the ground like a snake and crawl toward the seat of power in abject surrender, well, that is quite another thing, sir. And I have no stomach for it, sir! No stomach at all!
John Dickinson: We will exhaust all peaceful approaches, Mr. Adams. And we will do it with or without the approbation of you and your Boston insurrectionists!
John Adams: I will not voluntarily put on the chains of France while struggling to throw off those of Great Britain!
Abigail Adams: Half-fed slaves building our nation's Capitol. What possible good can come from such a place?
John Adams: Mr. Duane well knows that reconciliation would be as agreeable to my inclinations, and as advantageous to my interests as to any man's! But, I see no prospect for it, no probability, no possibility! And I cannot abide the hypocritical heart that pretends to expect peace when in truth it does not.
James Duane: This congress has no more right to pass such a resolution than parliament has! We must beware of overreaching!
John Adams: When Demosthenes... When Demosthenes traveled as ambassador through Greece, to incite a confederacy against the tyrant Philip of Macedon, he did not go, mr. President...
John Hancock: Mr. Adams, you are taking us on a journey through time! If you plan on taking us to creation itself, I should like send word to my landlady, she should not waste any eggs for my breakfast!
John Adams: He did not go, Mr. President, to propose a non-importation or non-consumption agreement.
Edward Rutledge: Pray forgive me for not recognizing the worthy Demosthenes. I mistook you for a Massachusetts man.
John Adams: Do you know, the conduct of some states from the beginning of this affair has given me reason to suspect that it is their settled policy to keep to the rear of our confederacy come what may, so as not to harm their future prospects? No, there are persons in Philadelphia to whom a ship is dearer than a city, and a few barrels of flour dearer than 1000 lives. Other men's lives.
John Dickinson: That is an outrageous slander!